Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)

Egodeath.com Weblog


May 29, 2004. 3

Role for ritual in entheogen-based religion: lead reliably to key danger, then enlightenment 3

May 28, 2004. 5

Range of Dating in Early Christian Writings. 5

Carol Price's explicit failure to recognize allusions to LSD phenomena as such in Rush lyrics. 6

Metaphor and ritual: Bridal Chamber, Gnostic Eucharist 6

News about Gnosis journal and upcoming book. 8

May 27, 2004. 10

Bart Ehrman lectures on DaVinci Code. 10

Apocalypticism Books. 11

May 26, 2004. 12

Talos the mortal robot 12

Entheogen disparagement and bunk scholarship. 13

May 25, 2004. 13

How far off are today's books and theories?. 13

No good books on ego death. 15

Translation and Avoiding Reading Straight 16

May 23, 2004. 17

Kingsley: ancient Greco-Roman philosophers as shamanic. 17

Matrix and philosophy/religion (book list) 18

May 22, 2004. 19

Visionary plants not mundane; opposite of vulgar. 19

Confluence: Carol Price, Rush, Alex Gray, LSD, Christ myth. 19

Metaphor = myth = mystic experiencing = entheogens. 21

May 21, 2004. 23

Maximal Entheogen Theory and Mithraism.. 23

May 18, 2004. 24

Mithras' leg portrays an Amanita Cubensis species. 24

Monoplant fallacy. 25

John M. Allegro. 25

Maximal entheogen theory of religion. 25

Myth is metaphor for mystic experiencing, more than metaphor for the plants themselves. 26

People's complaints about the etymology of "entheogens". 26

Ego death has nothing to do with egoism, humility in the mundane realm, self-help, or self-conduct 26

Scholarship; On research. 27

May 17, 2004. 27

What Is Enlightenment? magazine mentions LSD without striving to diminish it 27

Wilber's 'States vs. Stages' Theory Is Just the Ancient Initiation-Series. 28

Bickering and posturing among entheogen scholars over particular plants. 28

In Praise of John M. Allegro's pioneering work. 29

Big Bang, Big Crunch, and Hybrids for Christian Origins. 30

May 16. 30

Gathered latest commentary on the song "Free Will". 30

Historical discussion of polit. aspects of Xn origins. 31

About the term 'Radical' 31

About the relevance of historical investigation of certain political and socio-political aspects of Christian origins  32

May 15, 2004. 34

The exact sequence of thoughts forming the core of the loose-cognition labyrinth. 34

The logic of self-control seizure climax  (May 11, 2004) 36

Phrases for Self-Control Seizure. 38

Historical discussion of polit. aspects of Xn origins. 38

Docetism vs. denial of Jesus' historicity. 39

Is Jesus' historicity the traditional view?. 39

The "circular argument" critique of dating scriptures. 41

May 14, 2004. 44

The docetism heresy. 44

Assumptions in the Book The Jesus Mysteries. 44

May 13, 2004. 45

Jesus, Dionysus, Blood as Entheogenic Potion: Mushroom Wine. 45

Jesus in the Flesh. 46

May 12, 2004. 48

Crowley and Block-Universe Determinism.. 48

Whether God Has Free Will 49

Quasi-historical writing style of the Gospels. 49

Re-reading ancient culture as based on psilocybin wine. 50

May 11, 2004. 51

The tiniest Historical Jesus kernel makes the huge difference between the opposite Big Bang versus Big Crunch models of Christian origin. 51

May 8, 2004. 53

The Gospels as quasi- or semi-historical-styled literature. 53

Freewillism-assuming vs. Determinism-oriented religion. 55

Hellenic Mythicist Karl Kerenyi Was Early Advocate of Entheogen Theory of Greek Myth and Mystery-Religion  55

Dan Merkur's Book on Gnosis Is Transitional toward His Entheogen Theory of Religion. 55

Constantine's takeover of house-church Christianity. 55

What difference would such a puny Historical Jesus kernel individual make?. 59

May 7, 2004. 61

History of the theme 'King of the Jews' 61

May 6, 2004. 62

Categories of mystic-state metaphor in religion; mythemes and metaphors. 62

Virgin Mary's breast milk is entheogenic. 63

Countering the scholarly bias against Hellenistic input to Christian origins. 63

The goal of religion and definition of enlightenment 64

May 4, 2004. 66

The no-free-will model as a mere tool to induce the desired peak state of self-control seizure. 66

Enlightenment is centrally concerned with controllership, more than with awareness-identification with the whole  68

May 3, 2004. 69

Gesture of Pointing Up and Down. 69

May 01, 2004. 69

Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, star of the sea, protective mother. 69

'Death' refers to an intense mystic altered-state experience, not to bodily death or an intellectual symbol 69


May 29, 2004

Role for ritual in entheogen-based religion: lead reliably to key danger, then enlightenment

The right role for ritual in entheogen-based religion is, and was, to lead everyone routinely and reliably to the danger of experiencing cosmic determinism and self-control seizure (part 1 of enlightenment), and past that into transcendent enlightenment (part 2 of enlightenment).  Entheogens without ritual normally produce directionless chaos and danger, without approaching danger fully or coherently enough to truly engage the nature of the danger and move past it.

Visionary plants induce self-control instability, self-control seizure, and divine madness.  Ritual as in astral ascent mysticism served to lead people safely to this divine danger, and past it -- thus the common use of magic passwords within entheogen-based astral ascent mysticism.  Without ritual, entheogen experiencing was too formless to enlighten the masses, too formless to bring them to the danger and past it, and entheogen was too dangerous chaotically for the masses. 

The witch giving the patron a potion but the patron turning into an anguished animal-person represents entheogens without ritual, entheogens without (real) religion.  Isis' religion provided the shape and form that enabled the masses to be led to the full climax of danger, disaster, and full transcendent transformation, leading and guiding people specifically to experience cosmic determinism, which is dangerous and causes control instability and panic (psychotic-like hyperfreedom out of one's control, at the same time as the personal agent experiences being helplessly frozen into the spacetime block) until bringing about a divine transcendent leap out of the rational Gigerian prison-hell experience.

The sacred marriage classically happens only after the prison-hell embeddedness experience; one must go to hell and affix one's lower pseudo-sovereign self to that deterministic ice-prison in order for the higher self/twin to ascend to the sacred marriage.  There is flexibility in this system, but the general pattern that any theorist of enlightenment must confront and explain and face up to is that the dark night of hell, terror, imprisonment, abandonment to the Machine, has occurred normally before sacred marriage.

To advocate a religion of only light and positive cheerful experience is to advocate half of the steps to enlightenment.  The traditions which have sacred marriage have, before it, a hell-prison experience, the dark night.  The whole series is based in the use of entheogens: wherever there is eating and drinking such as the wedding banquet with wine, there is the ingestion of visionary plants.

No real wedding lacks its wine, and no real sacred marriage wedding banquet lacks its visionary plants.  In firmly entheogen-based religion, there was plenty of room and role for formally structured ritual.  The use of psychedelics in the late 20th Century typically lacked formally structured ritual, and it also seldom resulted in enlightenment, an unacceptably small percentage of the time.

So there is a wide-open opportunity for ritual to play a role today in psychedelics-based religion, if that ritual is intelligently informed by the driving purpose of leading people to the danger that is the conscious full experience of cosmic determinism, and past that danger into transcendence, into no longer placing all one's mental dependence, as a controller-agent, upon rationality.

The Mystery Religions used ritual in some way and were firmly entheogen based; same with the Passover meal and Hellenistic-era sacred meals in general: prayer before, during, and after, being the minimal ritual.  Start by taking for granted the heavy and totally normalized use of potent and efficacious entheogens throughout all Hellenistic-era religion.  Then ask what activities and processes were done within the altered state.

Same with considering meditation and drumming; ritual was used to supplement and shape the first-of-all entheogenic experiencing.  Just as the theoretical norm today is the taking of drugs together with the activity of going to a rave or Rock concert: was the Rock concert first, and then supplemented and enhanced by drugs?  Or are the drugs first, shaped and supplemented by the Rock concert?  Consider a trip movie as ritual, in its relation to drugs.

Does one take drugs to enhance the already-existing trip movie, or does one go to the trip movie to enhance and shape and give body to the drug experience?  Another interesting comparison for the relation of ritual and drugs is the Ken Kesey trips festivals, considered as "ritual" -- in a way, perfectly formless ritual.  Visionary plant use goes back to before the beginning of human culture, with the animals choosing to eat visionary plants.

So it is nonsense to suppose that normal meals came before visionary-plant meals -- but did ritual meals go all the way back?  Our earliest history studies will find that visionary-plant meals and ritual meals go all the way back; in fact that the earliest records to be deliberately preserved are expressly of the visionary-plant meals.

The first plants cultivated were visionary plants such as opium.  It is safest to assume that visionary-plant meals, accompanied and supplemented by ritual, go all the way back; it is not safe to suppose that ritual preceded entheogens or that plain non-ritual, non-entheogenic meals preceded entheogenic meals.

Non-entheogenic rituals have always existed, springing off as derivatives from "original" rituals, which were entheogen-based.  A problem is the temporal conception of the term 'original'.  Better is 'wellspring' or 'perennial origin'.  Entheogens are the perennial origin of ritual (and meditation and drumming), whether prehistorical, ancient, medieval, or modern.  I reject many aspects of evolution and evolutionary assumptions about psychospiritual development.

I am skeptical of James Arthur's excited talk envisioning progress of the psyche, or that the truth about entheogens will result in improvement, or are a novelty in any way.  At least it is a more complex situation.  I am restrained from talking about the wonderful future that will come when the truth about entheogens comes out -- such a Programme risks distorting the subject matter: too often that Programme is packaged with doubtful conceptions about the history of entheogen use -- that Evolutionary view is packaged with non-maximalist view of entheogens in religious history.

Ancient, Hellenistic-era, and early medieval religion were soaked and saturated with normalized entheogen use, yet those didn't result in utopia; therefore the assumption that visionary plants produce utopia in the future is over-the-top, an unreal picture of future entheogens and the past use of entheogens.

Simple pictures of progress through entheogens are just too simple, sounding like morality tales and memes that are designed to be clear and simple, but are actually shaky and filled with misleading implied assumptions about past use of entheogens in religion, and the general effects of entheogens in religion.

I don't trust the assumption that entheogens will cause progress away from the dark evil past of religion: that is a hope typically expressed by the entheogen scholars, but never argued and defended critically; it is merely an expressed hope, an expressed assumption -- that's one reason I'm against that view, because that view is always expressed as an uncritical assumption rather than being argued for, and we should not trust uncritical assumptions that are motivated merely by hope and wishful thinking.

Entheogens will redeem religion, they all say -- but that is merely the expression of hope and wishful thinking, never defended and spelled out explicitly and critically, and such a view is always packaged with some minimalist assumptions about entheogens in religious history.

Early Christianity was entheogenic just like Hellenistic religion, but went bad, proving that the true use of entheogens doesn't necessarily lead to enlightened religion.  Overloading entheogens with too many hopes sets too high a bar, and treats entheogens as too exotic, too perfect, too high, too automatic in their ability to redeem actual practice of religion.

Drugs means sacred plants and chemicals to trigger the sacred brain chemicals to produce the cognitive mode in which religious experiencing and other nonordinary experiencing most naturally occurs.  The most purely visionary religious plants may be psilocybin mushroom species, and the most purely entheogenic chemical may be LSD, but broad types of chemicals have in fact induced nonordinary states of experiencing in which transcendent vision, as experiential phenomena within an alternate mode of cognition, has occurred.

Sacred drugs include the pharmacopoeia of poisons and medicines such as heroin, methamphetamine, and crack cocaine, whether synthetic or concentrated -- against those drug scholars such as Dan Russell who think it is a good idea to perpetuate drug-demonization attitudes by narrowing which drugs they disparage and demonize.  Opium, morphine, and heroin have often caused visionary experience: denying this is just a side-product of prohibition-for-profit and broad-brush demonization at the expense of the truth of the matter.

So heroin and crack and meth and alcohol would be in an outer ring of sacred plants and chemicals; assume that they were pulled along by the momentum of the most classically entheogenic substances which have for example, psychotomimetic divine madness-inducing potential.


May 28, 2004

Was the gospel story of Jesus a rewrite of previous ancient cultures' texts?

All ancient religions were based on metaphorical descriptions reporting experiential phenomena encountered in the mystic state of consciousness.  Because all the religions were based in the same nonordinary state of consciousness, this made it easy for the themes of myth-religion to spread between the various religions.  This thematic borrowing came more naturally and easily than having to literally rewrite and edit the texts of other myth-religions. 

The Gospels were a rewriting of various diverse writings such as Emperor Cult and Greek myth, but such rewriting was made as easy as possible by the fact that the mythemes in Emperor Cult, Greek myth, and Christianity were all based in the same nonordinary state of consciousness, or experiential mode.

What motivates people to look for Jesus in India?  Because esoterically inclined people haven't recognized the self-sufficient esoteric initiation and transcendence themes in the basic Passion story, they read the Passion story in a generally literalist, non-mystical way, and then have to compensate for that reductionist elimination of the inherent mystic themes by travelling all the way to India to fasten remote imported spirituality onto the Jesus figure. 

A full study of the Passion as mystic-state descriptive metaphor in the Hellenistic-era culture, including the 'strictly mythic Jesus' scenario, lessens the anticipated potential value of Jesus-in-India scenarios.

Range of Dating in Early Christian Writings

If we agree on the earliest and latest possible dates of a presumably "early" Christian writing, this does not mean that the midpoint is the most probable date.  That methodological assumption is shaky and debatable enough to warrant comment.

"Pay attention to the data" often in this field translates to "pay no attention to the methodology".  A smart balance of carefully considering methodology and data is necessary, to have a good chance of making progress in recovering Christian origins.  J. Z. Smith makes a case in the book Divine Drudgery that bad methodology -- bad because not explicitly examined and critically contested -- has rendered academically worthless, decades and centuries of seemingly serious and relevant attention to data.

The project of recovering Christian origins has not been an affair of the academy: the methodology has been too weak and undeniably susceptible to distortions and biased assumptions.  We should not deny this and act as though everything has been fine in the world of methodology.

Casual dismissal of the importance of methodology, of critically evaluating methodology, is unjustifiable in this field (Early Christian History) that has produced such doubtful and conflicting results.  Fastidious attention to data, based on bad methodology, produces bad results.  Garbage In, Garbage Out applies to methodology as well as to data.  Poor methodology, more than lack of data, has been the main limiting factor in reconstructing Christian origins. 

The degree of relevance of methodology is itself one more contentious issue wrapped up in the debate between the historicist vs. mythicist views.  The historicist view favors restricting the amount of attention to methodology.  The mythicist view is prepared to elevate the attention to methodology to become as important as attention to data.  The mythicist view more readily highlights that all data is theory-bound.  Restricting the amount of attention to methodology acts as a cover to covertly protect one's own implicit methodology. 

Favoring the midpoint of the range is convenient and simple as a working assumption, but is debatable and risky.  We do not have sufficient information to safely assume that any date within the range is more probable than another.  We have a range, as a range -- we don't know the relative probabilities of dates within the range.  We don't know enough to speculate on the shape of the probability curve within this range.

We can't grant the midpoint greater probability than the start or endpoint just because it happens to fall into the middle of the range; the middle deserves no privilege, and is liable to abuse.  Adopting a strategy of "prefer the midpoint" can unfairly appear to minimize the losses and save face, for those who advocate one of the endpoint dates.

If I follow the later Edwin Johnson, I may suppose that the early Christian writings actually date from 1500, against an early-as-possible dating, so that the 'favor the midpoint' methodology asserts the most probable date of composition is the midpoint, 800 CE.  Actually, theory-construction is too complicated, our knowledge too incomplete and systemically circular, to assume a bell-shaped probability curve in between early and late dates people have proposed.

We don't know whether a date some ways inside the parameters is more likely than an end-point date.  We don't have that much information to draw the probability curve between the endpoints.  There is just as much probability as far as we know, for the midpoint as for an endpoint.  I would base my argument for a dating on factors other than whether a date is an endpoint or midpoint.  In a full analysis, the end dates could have more strength and merit than the midpoint. 

It could be that you can formulate a simple explanation based on assuming the earliest or latest possible date in the range, but cannot formulate a simple explanation/scenario based on the midpoint date.  The midpoint dating might require an oil-and-water mixture of two incompatible explanatory systems, and therefore have the lowest probability, being the least probable date within the range.

Carol Price's explicit failure to recognize allusions to LSD phenomena as such in Rush lyrics

An insipid, off-base, clueless blurb.  Visible online, back cover.

Mystic Rhythms: The Philosophical Vision of Rush

Carol Selby Price (apparently with guidance from Robert M. Price)


"In the late 1970s, ... a group emerged ... which was utterly different from all the rest.  Where other musicians sang of suicide, betrayal, and drugs, Rush talked about motivation, the realization of dreams, and the future.  Here were albums filled with ideas, not ennui, ... wondering aloud ... about modern-day issues that affect us all. ... trying to awaken a sense of curiosity in their listeners ..."


Carol Selby Price wrote: "Where other musicians sang of ... drugs, Rush talked about motivation, the realization of dreams, and the future ..."


Passage to Bangkok, a song by Rush:


Our first stop is in Bogota

To check Colombian fields

The natives smile and pass along

A sample of their yield

Sweet Jamaican pipe dreams

Golden Acapulco nights

Then Morocco, and the East,

Fly by morning light


We're on the train to Bangkok

Aboard the Thailand Express

We'll hit the stops along the way

We only stop for the best


Wreathed in smoke in Lebanon

We burn the midnight oil

The fragrance of Afghanistan

Rewards a long day's toil

Pulling into Katmandu

Smoke rings fill the air

Perfumed by a Nepal night

The Express gets you there


We're on the train to Bangkok

Aboard the Thailand Express

We'll hit the stops along the way

We only stop for the best

Metaphor and ritual: Bridal Chamber, Gnostic Eucharist

The sacraments were mushrooms (psychoactive plants).  Mushrooms are the true original authentic nature of orthodox and Eastern Orthodox 'sacraments' and the Valentinian 'sacrament of apolytrosis' (redemption).  Many normal Christians throughout history have used psychoactive mushrooms, henbane, or Datura as the Christian sacraments.  Some people have used psychoactive mushrooms, henbane, or Datura as the Christian sacraments.

Considering the Gnostic Sacraments

John Mabry, Copyright 1990



This is an article about sacred marriage mysticism which would be better if it spelled out the truth of the matter, that 'sacrament' means visionary plants. 

It appears to be worth reading in full, keeping in mind the visionary-plant nature of 'sacrament'. 

From the article: "The Apocalypse of Adam, which ... developed independently of Christian influence includes a truly transcendent vision of a messianic baptismal initiation which echoes loudly the canonical initiation of Jesus:

... And a bird came, took the child who was born, and carried him to a high mountain.

And he was nourished by the bird of heaven.

An angel came forth there and said to him, "Rise up! God has given you glory.""

My commentary on that: In some religious tradition including Christian, a raven brings divinely sent bread down from heaven -- there seems to be a traditional association of ravens and Amanita -- but the raven here is a general symbol for "coming down from heaven" including Zeus/Rome's killer eagle and Christianity's benevolent dove, and Amanita was used as a general symbol for visionary plants.

My spot-rewrites below are solely where 'mushroom' appears.

-------- rewritten text and some of the ego-death relevant excerpts -------

Of all the Gnostic mushroom experiences, the bridal chamber seems to be the most important, both by virtue of archetypal action involved and the weight of the frequency of references in The Gospel of Philip. There is still some dispute over whether the climactic mushroom experience was the bridal chamber or redemption, but most sources favor the former.

The import of this mushroom experience is the culmination of the Gnostic mythos. The archetypal myth (from One into many, the many into the One) has the bridal chamber as its end, the reunification of the believer with his spiritually sexual opposite, creating an androgynous unification that renders the archons helpless and seals the believer's destiny.

The use of sexual imagery to symbolize human union with the divine is not unfamiliar to the orthodox Christian, indeed canonical sources are rich with it. ...

... For the Gnostic, it is Jesus' role (as redeemer) to reunite with Sophia, and, mythically, to allow humankind with the help of gendered angels to share in that mystery. "It was for this purpose that his body came into being. On that day he came forth from the bridal bedroom as from what comes to pass between a bridegroom and a bride," which is to say, a unity. This represents "the healing of this disruption and the restoration of wholeness."

The Gnostics aren't through with Jesus yet, however; this spiritual union was, as myths are, played out on numerous stages, and Jesus "shared the bill" with Mary Magdalene in the gnostic accounts of his life. ... Stephan Hoeller ... "The transcendental bride chamber thus is said to have united God the Father with God the Mother (the Holy Spirit) and Jesus has replicated this divine example for the benefit of divided humanity."

The Gospel of Philip compares the bridal ceremony to the mystical architecture of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The court of the gentiles is the bastard creation, ruled by the archons, but within there is the holy place. I see the outer court (the holy place) as signifying the level of knowledge of the hylics, or material men. They get brief glimpses of glory, but do not pursue it. The intermediate stage between creation (the outer court/holy place) and the pleroma (the holy of holies), represents the psyche, the abode of the spiritually alert psychics, the group into which the orthodox fell. The inner chamber, the Holies of Holies is only accessible to the Knowers, the pneumatics. ... Philip borrows imagery from the Gospel of St. Matthew in speaking of the veil separating the Holies of Holies from the lesser chamber being rent from top to bottom as a result of Jesus' ministry, opening the way for humankind back into union. "By means of this image, the bridal chamber and the image must embark upon the realm of truth, that is, embark upon the return."

... the ritual itself consisted of ... It is perhaps too obvious to suggest that the drama of sexual union is played out in the Holies of Holies. The initiate might have been found with a woman (if the initiate is male) who represented, or perhaps was "possessed" by the feminine energy or spirit of an angel or even the holy spirit, depending on the particulars of the group's cosmology. The experience of climax, being one of the most powerfully mystical experiences possible for humankind would certainly provide the emotional and psychic fuel for the culmination of the initiate's unitive experience. ... the text of ... Philip ... saying no one can understand the mystery unless they have actually experienced it.65 The neo-Gnostic church, Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum in Palo Alto* incorporates the bridal chamber imagery into its eucharist by inviting communicant to receive, declaring "Come enter the Bridal Chamber and receive the most holy mystery of the Three-in-One. As the Logos and the Holy Spirit are united in the Father, so may ye attain to this divine union."

*[A center of LSD activity: the '50th anniversary of LSD' conference was held there in 1993, Jerry Garcia was from there, Cuckoo's Nest author there, Trips Festivals in the forest south of there, it's near San Francisco, Myron Stolaroff's early 1960s LSD research was there -mh]

The effects of the bridal chamber, once completed, were perpetual, continuing through the remainder of the initiate's incarnate existence and beyond, safely beyond the archons' power. ...

The rationale is, that the evil archons can invade and, like the succubi of medieval mythology, destroy the soul, or at least continue it's imprisonment. ...

The attainment of union with the Divine is traumatic (in its finest meaning) and cannot help but to affect one's psychological state. ...

The Gnostics are a complex group, too complex to label their systems or methods "good" or "bad." They were "different," ... The striving for integration, like the refining systems of the Chinese and medieval alchemists, must be acknowledged and admired. "The Gnostic severs every connection with unconsciousness and compulsion and lives and dies as a sovereign being of light and power henceforth."70 David Fideler notes that, for the Gnostic "The Christ, or the power of gnosis within, thus acts as a bridge through which not only may the individual remember his origins, but also through which God is re-memberd, his mystical body restored."

There is a pervading feeling that something was lost from Christianity with the demise of the Gnostic movement. Jacob Needleman in Lost Christianity maintains that the gnosis is still there, the esoteric traditions being carried on quietly by the medieval mystics, and is alive today, if we can dig deep enough in the Christian orthodox tradition to find it. Many in the Church are turning to syncretistic systems involving Eastern philosophy in order to restore the "lost" dimension to the gospel. Fr. Rossner writes:

... something very precious went out of the Church with the gnostic Christians. That is the tradition of live psychic and spirit experience which they, like Jesus, James, John and Paul had lived by. For although they had become involved with exotic, world-denying Asian mythologies and an utterly passive stance of inward-looking mysticism, the gnostic Christians ... were undoubtedly in contact with a living tradition of psychical and spiritual phenomena. This included dreams, visions, heavenly apparitions, and healing experiences which continued to feed their faith in a transcendent order behind the physical universe It was just this kind of live psychic and spirit experience and mystic vision which had fed and nurtured the wellsprings of the faith of the Fathers of the Judeo-Christian tradition ... The entire Primordial Tradition of psychic intuition and spiritual insight of the ancient world, are depicted in the Bible and in pagan writing as having been motivated by divine initiative through such paranormal psychic and mystical [mushroom based - mh] experiences.

... the inheritors of the Gnostic heritage. The mystics, who relate with the experiences inferred from the Gnostic texts, who resonate with their mysticism and sympathize with their need to remythologize the universe to make sense of it. But as Professor Needleman concludes, the Gnostic legacy has found a home, not a comfortable one, but a home nonetheless in orthodoxy.

For the vast majority of people in all religions are too spiritually immature to understand the gnostic purpose, while those who are more mature may find no more need to abandon the Church than does the eagle its nest; nor could they wish to do so. Through the ancient mushroom-based structure of the Church they find their own way of obtaining and (if such be their office) of administering her gnostic treasures, even if these treasures must come in curiously heavy wrappings.

The mushrooms can become for us doorways into the divine and an understanding of esoteric mushroom-experiential systems can only assist us in uncovering the buried treasure of the orthodox mushrooms. Their similarities are handles for us, their transcendent differences are mystical opportunities.

For it is only by relating the experiences of the Holy claimed in the Gospels, in the lives of the saints, and in the mushroom experiences of the Church to the experiences of the Holy claimed by Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, Jews, etc., and by New Religionists of various stripes, that the "saving link," or the "strategic bridge," can be built over which authentic forms of Christianity may pass to become once again a significant force in the global village.

-------- end of rewritten text -------

News about Gnosis journal and upcoming book

I recommend reading the back-issues of Gnosis journal.


-- Michael Hoffman



-----Original Message-----

From: Jay Kinney

Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 1:01 PM


Dear friends of Gnosis and the Lumen Foundation,


This is one of my occasional update announcements for members of the Gnosis_lumen Yahoo group.


When I last wrote you last September, I was uncertain about how much longer we could continue to make back issues of GNOSIS available, due to our storage and overhead costs. I vowed to keep them available as long as possible, if enough orders continued to come in.


The good news is that I have been able to do just that. There have been sufficient orders - especially for full sets of all 51 issues - that we've been able to cover the costs of storing and shipping back issues. We've also been able to keep the GnosisMagazine.com website up and running.


The bad news? Well, there isn't really any, unless I count the fact that doing all this is still an all-volunteer effort on my part. ;-)


But I do have some NEW news that I'd like to share with you.


First and foremost, next month (June) is the publication date for a new book that I've edited called "The Inner West: An Introduction to the Hidden Wisdom of the West". This anthology is, in everything but name, a Gnosis anthology, as almost every article in it originally appeared in the magazine. It features many of our best writers covering the many facets of esoteric spirituality and traditions that could be found in Gnosis. The publisher is Tarcher/Penguin. Next week I hope to have a link posted at the Gnosismagazine.com website that will take you directly to an ordering page at Amazon where you will be able to order the book for 30% off list price. (Of course if you wish to buy the book at your local bookstore, all the better.)


Second, we're hoping in the near future to finally set up online ordering for back issues at the Gnosis website. This is long overdue, but the complexities of setting up a shopping cart system and systematizing issue and shipping costs for such a system make it a daunting process. What's more, even the simplest shopping cart systems involve monthly fees that will be a new expense. So we're taking this at a measured pace. Stay tuned for further news as we proceed.


Third, I'm also hoping in the near future to post some *new* book reviews at the Gnosis site. There have been some excellent reprints of long unavailable occult classics published by Ibis Books (and others) that deserve attention.


Finally, I'd like to invite you to help us make all this happen. If any of you are in a position to donate some much needed software to the Lumen Foundation (such donations would be tax deductable, as we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit) we could use the following: Dreamweaver MX, Photoshop 7 or CS, and Filemaker 7, (all for Mac OS X). We're still making do with versions of these programs that are, in many cases, five years old or older! If you or someone you know can help out, please email me at: jmkinney@pacbell.net or gnosis@lumen.org.


Thanks for your support.


With all best wishes,


Jay Kinney



May 27, 2004

Bart Ehrman lectures on DaVinci Code


I received links to Bart Ehrman audio lectures on the DaVinci Code today.


I have listened to Ehrman's lectures and read some of his books.  His work is on-topic for re-constructing the origins of the Jesus figure and Christianity.


Lecture courses by Bart Ehrman:

Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles over Authentication


From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity



Books by Bart Ehrman include:

Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew


The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament

Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium

After the New Testament: A Reader in Early Christianity

The Apostolic Fathers: Volume II. Epistle of Barnabas. Papias and Quadratus. Epistle to Diognetus. The Shepherd of Hermas



>>... we have commissioned two free, 30-minute lectures on "Fact and Fiction in The DaVinci Code" from biblical expert Professor Bart D. Ehrman of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of our most popular professors, Professor Ehrman (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is a 15-year teaching veteran at UNC and winner of several teaching awards. These lectures are a free gift to you. You may access these free lectures online any time between now and Labor Day, September 6, 2004.


>>Click here to access the free lectures.



>>The DaVinci Code has remained on The New York Times bestseller list now for more than 50 weeks. Even though it is a work of fiction, it contains an ostensibly historical background involving early Christianity. But what is fact and what is fiction? Join Professor Ehrman to discuss the truth behind such topics as the formation of the Christian Bible, Jesus' relationship with Mary Magdalene, and the role of the emperor Constantine in shaping the religion of the historical Jesus.


>>... You may listen at your computer by choosing to "stream" them, or you may download them [22.5 MB x 2] ...


>>[Michael,] Please feel free to send the link to the lectures to any friends of yours who might also enjoy them. They are free for them as well.


>>... We hope you enjoy this taste of Dr. Ehrman's lecturing style.



-- Michael Hoffman

Apocalypticism Books

I am interested in end-time or turn-of-era ideas and metaphors, and have read some of the books about apocalypses, apocalypticism, and end-time eschatology as they manifested in the Hellenistic era.

I've been finding additional superior apocalypticism books in addition to below.

Cosmos, Chaos, and the World to Come -- Norman Cohn


The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism: The Origins of Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity -- Bernard McGinn (Ed.)


The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism: Apocalypticism in Western History and Culture -- Bernard McGinn (Ed.)


Visions of the End -- Bernard McGinn


The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature -- John Collins


Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet -- Dale Allison


Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium -- Bart Ehrman


Book list:  Apocalypticism  (new 5/23/04) [todo: add to home page]


Book list:  The kingdom of God is at hand



May 26, 2004

Talos the mortal robot


Themes here include: robot (automaton), Achilles' heel vulnerability on which one stands, magic potion of immortality/death (apathantos/thanatos), immortality/mortality.


-- Michael Hoffman





"Talos, or Talus, was a giant creature made of bronze that some writers say was the last survivor fo the bronze age. Talos was given to Europa by Zeus. Talos guarded the island of Crete. According to others, Talos was designed by Hephaestus, who gave the robot to King Minos. Hephaestus' robot guarded Crete by walking around the perimeter of the island three times a day and throwing rocks and other debris at ships so that they would not land on the island.


Talos was a very strong creature who had but one weak spot on his body, the vein in his ankle. His bronze body was kept alive by an ichor contained in that single vein. The Argonauts encountered Talos on their way home from Libya. Medea convinced Talos that she would give him a secret potion that would make him immortal if he would let her stop on the island. Talos agreed and drank the potion and it made him fall asleep. Medea went to him in his sleep and pulled the plug in his ankle, whereupon Talos bled to death. Other stories say that when Medea tried to land on the island, Talos scraped his ankle on a rock while trying to fight her off and bled to death. According to an entirely different version, Talos was killed by an Argonaut Poeas, who shot him in the ankle with an arrow."



http://www.infosatellite.com/news/2001/12/p101201firstrobot.html -- "Hephaestus, the mythological god of fire, created Pandora ... a woman, but he also created Talos, the bronze guardian of Crete who kept strangers off by throwing stones, burning them, heating himself red-hot and then clasping them in his arms. He had a vital fluid kept in by a membrane in his foot, a weak spot like the heel of Achilles. The witch Medea, to help Jason and the Argonauts, cast him into a magic sleep and cut the membrane, thus killing him. According to Apollonius of Rhodes, the author of the most popular version of the Voyage of the Argo, Talos was a bronze giant descendant of the brazen race that sprang from ash-trees. His body and his limbs were brazen and invulnerable, except at one point: under a sinew by his ankle there was a blood-red vein protected only by thin skin, which to him meant life or death.


When the Argonauts sought refuge in Crete´s Dicte haven they were prevented by Talos, who broke off lumps of rock from the cliff to hurl at them. He terrified the Argonauts, who sought the aid of Medea. In Apollonius version, "she invoked the Spirits of the Dead, the swift hounds of Hades who feed on souls and haunt the lower air to pounce on living men. She sank to her knees and called upon them, three times in song, three times with spoken prayers. She steeled herself with their malignity and bewitched the eyes of Talos with the evil in her own. She flung at him the full force of her malevolence, and in an ecstasy of rage she plied him with images of death... It was thus that Talos, for all his brazen frame, was brought down by the force of Medea´s magic. He was hoisting up some heavy stones with which to keep the Argonauts from the anchorage, when he grazed his ankle on a sharp rock and the ichor ran out of him like molten lead. He stood there for a short time, high on the jolting cliff. But even his strong legs could not support him long; he began to sway, all power went out of him, and he came down with a resounding crash" (translation from ... E. V. Rieu)."



Entheogen disparagement and bunk scholarship

In Neville Drury's 1979 book Inner Visions, p. 99-100, he quotes Diana Vandenberg's disparagement of entheogens against "traditional" alchemy.

Post-1966, after LSD prohibition, no one wanted to be thought of as a psychedelic artist.  This provides the clue about the turning point: when and why the contemporary type of spiritualists' entheogen diminishment seriously began.

Her characterization of key factors differentiating psychedelics from alchemy is hogwash squared, an exercise in false dichotomy.  Today's entheogen "defenders" (the book Zig Zag Zen) let this type of false diminishment and false dichotomy go on, loads and loads of the same nonsense, without any real fight to reveal what's really going on. 

Zig has its moments of putting such nonsense in its place, but the book strives for "a balanced debate" -- that is, it is pre-committed to the Establishment-compliant merely Liberal view.  The book ought to call the liars and profiteers what they are -- if it wanted to be a true study of the truth of the matter.  The book isn't "the truth about entheogens in Buddhism", it is merely "the wretched state of the 'debate' today".


May 25, 2004

How far off are today's books and theories?

Do today's scholars have all the pieces needed for a theory of ego death?  The pieces are underemphasized, lost in the noise - prominent in one field, but not in another.  Too many fallacies are too predominant in too many fields.  Most of the key points are supported by some fraction of the current scholarly research. 

Each book falls short.  It is not an airplane, and it does not fly, if key pieces are missing, many false pieces have been added, and all the pieces are half-buried, and the few authentic pieces are broken and strewn apart.  In today's books, we have an overgrown airplane wreck turned into a dump -- not a flying airplane.

It's a struggle for them even to see that wine = death = madness = initiation = myth = religion.  Also missing is frozen-time block-universe determinism, and cybernetic control agency.  It's amazing I was ever feared books covered this theory - now that it's more complete, no other book comes even close to pulling together and highlighting the right points and connections.  I could flag where the key points are found in today's books, show how those are poorly expressed, half-understood, and not integrated; focus on writing up the missing aspects/connections; highlight what has gotten and remained buried, forming a combination of various minority views.

The relevant points are swamped, half-buried, distorted, strewn about, forgotten, unrecognizable -- an overgrown plane wreck.  It's an excavation and improved assembly project.  An assembly that flies, that delivers the goods, that actually results in climax, not in more talk about climax.

Sure, the pieces are sort of there in today's books, sort of visible, sort of available, "merely" needing to be pulled together... but they are connected to junk, there is far more junk than valuable parts, they are covered with junk, mis-connected, some key parts are missing.  It remains in fact a large project to get from the present state of scholarly affairs to the goal.  In various ways, the pieces "just need to be pulled together", but other hand, situation is pretty bad, pretty far from what it needs/ought to be.

Today's expressed and implied theories of religion, of myth, of mysticism, of determinism, of entheogens, of psycho-spiritual development, of initiation, of mystery-religion, of Western esotericism -- even when they touch directly on the right solution, such as Merkur in _Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mysticial Visions and Unions_, when he mentions mustrooms, such scholars don't recognize this as the perfectly fitting central key, the right and effective solution, because they have weak understanding of the entheogens and of the metaphors in religion -- like a kid who is completely ignorant of mysticism and entheogens saying "mysticism doesn't use entheogens". 

Such scholars are wholly unable to fit the pieces together effectively, even when they do try to do so, so that a whole supersystem comes successfully crashing together.  You have to assemble the effective combination of views that have been modified effectively.  Solving the puzzle requires not just possessing the pieces, but effectively modifying the components and assembling them effectively to form an effective whole. 

Modern OSC-based scholars are hackers dabbling, with lots of bunk junk thrown in -- somewhat like a document prior to cleanup: must remove the irrelevant junk, reframe the existing pieces, and add missing pieces.  You have to remove, add, and reframe pieces.  Today's overall Theory held by the scholars is fine and "close" -- except it needs a ton of additions, a ton of subtractions, and a ton of modifications/re-framing.

Start with today's books and theories, then add much, subtract much, and extensively re-frame.

You need to eliminate the many bunk parts, clean off and refurbish good parts, invent missing parts, then assemble the whole into something that flies well.

Kingsley, for example, still doesn't deliver the goods -- he does not help you experience mystic climax.  What books deliver the goods on ego death?  None.  Only a combination of a set of books, guided by the kind of selective modification and patching-together I need to do, can produce mystic climax and deliver the goods.

The pieces are pretty far from being pulled together, in existing books/theories/models/paradigms.

What is most missing:

·         Recognizing that 'king' means deluded-as-sovereign initiate

·         The maximal entheogen focus

·         The entire theory of myth as metaphor of mystic-state experiencing, especially through repeated use of entheogens.

·         Wine = death madness = initiation = myth = religion

·         Timeless block-universe determinism (against the causal-chain-based conception of determinism)

·         Cybernetic control agency (there are philosophy books about that, treating it in isolation)

What is too present in today's books:

·         Jung's conceptual jargon

·         OSC psychologism

·         Parapsychology, low-magical thinking: superstitious literalism instead of transcendent metaphor

·         They misidentify the social-psychology aspect as the center of the origin of Christianity

Today's books in general tend to:

·         Commit the entheogen diminishment fallacy

·         Literalism about the 'king' theme.

·         Their thinking is suffused with chronic literalism; they unconsciously hold to a deep implicit theory of direct literal reading.

·         They commit the 'lost the ability' fallacy

·         They commit the 'alien socio-psychology of primitives' fallacy

·         They commit the 'ancients gullible and stupid' fallacy

·         They commit the 'they didn't have or use rationality' fallacy

·         They commit the master fallacy: the ordinary state of consciousness (OSC) fallacy.

·         They commit the 'entheogens are incidental' fallacy

·         They only consider the colorful themes of religion as 'symbol' or as 'literal', but not as 'metaphorical description of mystic experiencing'.

·         They underestimate how intense mystic experiencing is -- they cannot conceive of such intensity, thus don't recognize its apocalyptic earth-shattering resonance.

·         They underestimate how intense entheogens are.

·         They fail to systematically integrate and combine the key components

·         The don't focus on and integrate into religion, the idea of primary agency (sovereign king)

·         No-free-will is not seen as central in mystic religion though there are many indications it is.

·         The only choices they are aware of are armchair freewillism vs. armchair determinism (causal-chain), all based on the implicit OSC theory

·         They make the single-state fallacy (Charles Tart).

·         They assume the minimal entheogen theory (in a Swiss Cheese model, they picture entheogens as the holes rather than the cheese)

·         They tend to put together only two elements instead of recognizing that myth = wine = metaphor = death = initiation = religion.

No good books on ego death

There aren't any good ego-death books to recommend.

The good evidence is so scattered-about across many books.  Few are truly great and clear and on-target.  It's more a matter of picking bits from the 10 best books on determinism or block-universe spacetime, the 10 best books on metaphor and myth (are there any good ones?)... it may be easier to think in terms of the 10 least lame books on each subject.  The standard modern 20th-Century errors are more or less penetrating all the books.  It's more a matter of, if you compensate for the fallacies, certain books have the most potential.

The Spacetime Diary chapter in Rudy Rucker's The Fourth Dimension is a must-have.  Strange Fruit (Magical Mushrooms) by Heinrich is perhaps the finest work in recognizing entheogens throughout Western esotericism and Western religion broadly.  I'm currently looking for books premised on "myth-religion is metaphor for mystic-state initiation", but I'm just finding isolated passages in books  -- not entire books. 

Some essays in Hofstadter & Dennett (eds.) - _The Mind's I_ are must-reads.  If only Heinrich meets my standards, they are impractically high.  Richard Double's book on Determinism and Metaphilosophy is essential, but it doesn't know about mystic-state block-universe determinism -- only pedestrian, in-time, armchair-philosophy, causal-chain determinism.

Thomas Roberts' chrestomathy approach ( http://csp.org ) makes sense, therefore: if there are too few adequate books, collect and recommend instead, passages taken from many books.

Pagels' Gnostic Gospels deserves its popularity, and her Gnostic Paul confirmed a set of some 20 hypotheses I had about determinism-associated views.  There are plenty of merely good books I could recommend, but I'm always more excited about passages, rarely entire books.  Drury's book Magic and Witchcraft appears well-done and highly informed by entheogens -- actually covertly based centrally around entheogens; a more accurate title would be _Entheogens in Magic and Witchcraft_.  I think highly of the entheogen aspects of Ratsch et. al. _Witchcraft Medicine_.

My various Amazon book lists are not all recommended books to buy and read cover-to-cover -- but they are books everyone should at least know about.  I would not recommend reading books about the Historical Jesus or Mythic-Only Jesus, with the possible exception of The Jesus Mysteries.  The non-existence of Jesus is, in the long run, a minor concern.  In Mystery Religions, no books particularly stand out from the rest -- but Ulansey is outstanding in Mithraism. 

I don't recommend first reading the usual books like Road to Eleusis -- those books are not new news.

I like the tenor and approach and the presence of entheogens in Metzner's book The Unfolding Self, on symbols of transformation.  The best thing on entheogens in religion now is the journal Entheos -- a must-read. 

I thrashed and ripped up a pile of books, of assorted quality, in frustration at the reign of mediocrity, forced and artificial modern theorizing,

I recommend Gnosis journal back-issues while they are still available.  They just don't make magazines like this now -- Parabola doesn't even come close.  Alexandria issues 1-5 are the closest, but Gnosis was the best esotericism journal, though it adhered to a limited circle of standard Liberal (not Radical) assumptions: it is shot through with the ordinary-state fallacy, the entheogen-diminishing view, and psychologism, and Jungian (pop Jungian?) modes of thinking -- but almost no one could escape that gravitational field in the 20th Century; show me a book or spirituality magazine that *isn't* shot through with those strongly predominant paradigm elements.

There is a good article on early Christianity and astral determinism in Prayer, Magic, and the Stars in Ancient Mediterranean Religion.

If you want not-bad books, there are many -- but which books can I firmly recommend?  The spread of books (my "So You'd Like to... Experience Ego Death" book list) is almost more important than the particular books.

The Egyptian Hermes has some key passages, -- Fowden -- but I don't know if I'd recommend reading the whole thing.  Again, an in-store or in-library passage-reading list would be more to-the-point.  I could scan and upload an assortment of key passages.  Merkur's book Psychedelic Sacrament is an important scholarly contribution because he shows how to work with texts in detective/decoding fashion, to go about looking for entheogen evidence in the leading historical mystics in multiple religions. 

A rare right-approach is taken in Thorne's Marijuana: The Burning Bush of Moses, which is about mysticism as much as entheogens, as reflected in its wise bibliography.  Luther Martin's Hellenistic Religions is important in its central thesis of determinism-centric religion. 

I don't recommend Zig Zag Zen, or Cleansing the Doors of Perception, because these put forth such a tepid "defense" of entheogens, they are just exacerbating all the most problematic and misguided confusions of the day.  Instead, against such mere Liberal views, go for the real stuff, James Arthur's Mushrooms & Mankind first.  Only after he sets things straight, is it safe to read the tepid, half-hearted, collaborationist "debate" books such as Zig Zag Zen, Doors, or Gnosis issue 26 (?) covering (up) Psychedelics.

There are tons of good-to-great passages -- few great books.


Translation and Avoiding Reading Straight

Douglas Hofstadter wrote a book about translating poetry, explaining the details of how flexible translating is.  He translates one particular poem using many different techniques.

Le Ton Beau De Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language

Douglas Hofstadter



"Ton Beau" is a pun on "tomb" in French, like the quasi-pun mystic wordplay "soma/sema", body/tomb.  Mary Magdalene saw that the tomb (body) was empty, and she believed.

Hofstadter also discussed translation choices and issues in the book Godel Escher Bach, including the new front matter.  That book includes multi-language translations of structurally intricate including of nonsense poems, with deliberate self-referential circularity problems, presenting translation conundrums. 

A parallel New Testament showing 7 or more translations side-by-side reveals some of this flexibility, which may be only the tip of the iceberg of this translation problem.  The hard problem isn't translating words, but rather, translating systems of double- or multi-layered meaning, including layers of systemic deliberate misleading.

Hellenistic writing strove to play with ambiguity and deliberate misleading.  Wordplay included cross-language punning and double-entendre, and playing with false etymologies, resulting in a double-meaning psyche-out game, though that was a game as serious as mystic-state mystery-initiation interwoven with sociopolitical themes such as the end of the present world-era and the overthrow of all of its governing agents.

To read scripture straight is to swim against all the directions of probability and evidence.  We have every reason not to read Hellenistic-era religious writings straight.  The real question is what sort of non-straight reading is most suitable. 


For example, what framework should we use when thinking of the terms for wine, king, or death?  Suppose the passage to be translated from Greek states that:

The Basileus drinks oinos and this results in thanatos.


Should we adopt the usual, comfortably implicit theory that 'oinos' mainly meant what we mean by 'wine', 'Basileis' mainly meant what we mean by 'king', or 'thanatos' mainly meant what we mean by 'death'?  The resulting translation of would be:

The king drinks wine and this results in death.

That's a 1-layer, surface-layer-only translation.


An alternative option is to suppose that these meanings familiar to us were only the surface layer, and that the deeper meaning was conveyed through simultaneously shifting together the meaning of key words.  A resulting translation is:

The presumably autonomous initiate drinks the religious madness-inducing potion and this results in a mystic death experience.

That's a 1-layer, deep-layer-only translation.


An appropriate true, non-lossy translation of 2-layered passage would require the result to also convey those two layers of meaning -- a surface layer, even with a tone of deliberate misleading, and a deeper layer: hiding and then revealing.  A 2-layered translation into a more modern conceptual vocabulary could be:

The willful Wiccan drinks a magic potion and this results in death.

That's a 2-layer, surface-and-deep-layer translation.


May 23, 2004

Kingsley: ancient Greco-Roman philosophers as shamanic

The beginning of Peter Kingsley's book Dark Places of Wisdom, online, seems to assert, like McKenna, the idea of all culture originally flowing from the mystic alternate state of consciousness.  This book's style is the opposite of his first book, which was extreme scholarly.  His first book, Ancient Philosophy, provides research on pre-Socratic, Pythagorean/Empedoclean/Orphic Sicilian jumping into the volcanic crater as being equal to immersing oneself for purification in the wine-mixing bowl (krater). 

The book Ancient Philosophy covers magical plants (vaguely, not specifically entheogens), and the shamanic nature of the pre-Socratics -- actually an unbroken tradition from which Aristotle was the deviant, strictly rationalist bad-guy who deliberately misportrayed the philosophers of the ancient shamanic-mystic tradition, which continued after Aristotle.  

Per Kingsley in the book Ancient Philosophy, we must quit treating Aristotle as though he were a straight-talking trustworthy source about the nature of pre-Socratic and perennial mystic philosophy.  We must read Aristotle like we must read the so-called "Church Fathers" when they describe gnostics: through a critically discerning 'hermeneutics of suspicion' (Fiorenza) -- a Liberal-to-Radical reading.

If we rely on Aristotle for indications about the pre-Socratics and the perennial ancient philosophy from which he was a deviant data-point, we must do so in a negative way, assuming that he was bent on misportraying their views.  Kingsley also tends to Portray Plato as somewhat of a harmful deviant away from the genuine, pure, original, shamanic, perennial nature of ancient "philosophy". 

The post-Aristotle shamanic mystic ancient Greek philosophers must not be viewed as degenerated falling away from Aristotle's example of authentic Greek Philosophy.  It was Aristotle who was the deviant; the post-Aristotle Greek Philosophers were staying true to the ancient perennial shamanic original Philosophy, which combined rationality and mystic state experience: shamanic, plant-healer, magician, Iatromantic.

I suspect Kingsley covertly knows that this is all about psychoactives, when he focuses on the central use of magical plants in the ancient perennial shamanic-philosophy tradition.  I suspect Kingsley knows that Kerenyi and Graves advocated the entheogen theory of Greek myth-religion.

The book Dark Places seems to be the short to-the-point popular summary of his exasperatingly long-winded, slow-moving, hyper-scholastic book Ancient Philosophy.

Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition

Peter Kingsley


Feb. 1997, rank 97K (somewhat popular)

In the Dark Places of Wisdom

Peter Kingsley


Apr. 1999, rank 44K (popular)

(More colorful cover: http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0715631195  Oct. 2001)


Peter Kingsley


Mar. 2004, rank 36K (popular)

Matrix and philosophy/religion (book list)

I made this new book list today:

Matrix and philosophy/religion


Newest books:

Jacking in to the Matrix Franchise: Cultural Reception and Interpretation

Matthew Kapell (Ed.), William Doty (Ed.)


~May 2004

Covers all 3 movies.

Beyond the Matrix: Revolutions and Revelations

Stephen Faller


Mar. 2004

Covers all 3 movies.

Matrix Warrior: Being the One

Jake Horsley


Nov. 2003

The Matrix Cultural Revolution: How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go?

Michel Marriott


Oct. 2003

The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in The Matrix

Chris Seay, Greg Garrett


Jun. 2003


May 22, 2004

Visionary plants not mundane; opposite of vulgar

A classic view is that visionary plants are magical plants; they are the divine flesh sent down from heaven; the envelope containing a reminder, a spark of Dionysus among the ashes of the titans.  They are not of this world (this idea assumes some type of dualistic view).  The idea of sparks of divine light spread throughout the mundane world is itself part of classic popular dualism. 

I essentially advocate this kind of dualism when I maintain that optimizing life within the ordinary state of consciousness risks losing actual transcendent mystic experience entirely.  Pop spirituality *claims* to be elevating daily life up into the realm of the mystical, but that's really a shell game, a cheap redefinition trick, and in practice, is a reductionist move amounting to merely denying the existence of mystic experiencing, and relabelling the mundane as the transcendent. 

Add ten more layers of glossy plastic coating onto the pop Buddhism magazines, process the photos more in Photoshop, and you still just have nothing more than optimized ordinary daily life decorated with over-inflated talk about ever more vaguely conceptualized spiritual states of consciousness.  They've lost all touch with real, actual, revealed religion (intense primary religious experience), replacing it by a foggy made-up, manufactured scheme, mixed with guru worship, premised all on the false assumption that mystic states are hard to reach, and rare.

The cheerful reductionism in New Age and Buddhism magazines is depressing.  Genuine basic enlightenment is a multistage procedure but doesn't need to take more than a pile of mushrooms and a stack of the best books over a 6-month course.  It ought to be taught like in the ancient schools, as a university course with classroom and lab.  Everyone makes such a big deal of enlightenment, way over-inflating it, ending up in long disputes over minor points, having lost sight of the basic straightforward simplicity.

Everything is divine, but some things more than others; divine light is concentrated especially in visionary plants, and in the brain biochemistry that includes DMT and is triggered by the divine light in the magical plants that are not of this world.

Confluence: Carol Price, Rush, Alex Gray, LSD, Christ myth

Michael Hoffman wrote:

>>I found a review by author Carol Price of Alex Gray's book The Mission of Art ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/157062545X ).  This is interesting, finding that she knows of Alex Gray, because she wrote about Rush lyrics, overlooking their LSD allusions, and Alex Gray is explicitly an LSD-inspired artist.

>>As mentioned before, it appears that Carol Price, author of a philosophy book about the 1970s Heavy Rock group Rush, is the wife of Robert Price, author of Deconstructing Jesus.  I haven't confirmed that, but that Rush book is coauthored by Robert and Carol Price, and the author of Deconstructing Jesus stated his wife is Carol. ...


Mystic Rhythms: The Philosophical Vision of Rush (The Woodstock Series. Popular Music of Today, V. 2)

Carol Selby Price (apparently with guidance from Robert M. Price)



I think this book was written basically by Carol alone, with help from Robert, because the top of the left pages say Carol Selby Price, only.

There is a key false statement on page 23:

"... Have you  [turned off the robot]?  You think you have; after all, aren't you an aficionado of this band whose lyrics are about ideas, not about drugs and hormones?"

The one mention of drugs I've found in her book is a statement in passing, not defended -- it appears to not occur to her that it needs any defending -- that the lyrics of the band Rush are not "about drugs".

On page 61, she writes: "As Aldous Huxley points out in The Doors of Perception, visionaries of all ages and nations have consistently described the exotic terrain of their visions as glowing with a deeper, more vivid, more substantial reality, which makes our own seem to be the dream by contrast."

Note her clumsy, self-contradictory dichotomy between presumed 'us' ("our own [less substantial] reality") versus 'them', those alien, strange, Others who we wall off as 'those visionaries' -- she first sets up an inclusive-sounding category: "visionaries of all ages and nations have consistently described ..." and then contradicts herself: "which makes our own seem ...".

This can be called something like the 'exotic/alien/others mystic access fallacy' -- the notion, so old and familiar it's invisible, that "they had the ability to access mystic states" and "the exotics and savages still have it" but that "we civilized moderns no longer have that ability".  This is the "moderns' loss of ability" fallacy, which is directly and sharply contradicted by mid-20th Century psychedelic proof that we still fully have the ability as readily and near at hand as ever. 

The "loss of ability" fallacy can only stand up when married with the assumption that 20th-Century psychedelic proof doesn't count.  If we have lost the ability, as the conservative-to-liberal paradigm repeats like a numb unconscious mantra, then all the 20th-Century psychedelic proof that we have the ability must implicitly be worthless and irrelevant -- somehow. 

The conservative-liberal paradigm either ignores that blatant disparity, or strives to diminish the psychedelic proof down to nothing -- doing whatever it takes to preserve the predominant paradigm of "Gee, we mentally crippled and stunted modern scholars and theorists just can't figure out those strange, exotic, alien mystics and savages, 'them', those Others.  They *must* have had different social-psychological structure; that is the only explanation."

Price's mention of Huxley is quoting from a book whose purpose is to equate a visionary plant, mescaline, with mystic-state experiencing -- she forgets and ignores this, but when she says "aren't you an aficionado of this band whose lyrics are about ideas, not about drugs ...?", she is implicitly unconsciously implying that Huxley's book is just as worthless and unprofound as Rock lyrics about drugs, as though she were to write "Aren't you an aficionado of this literary author whose books are about ideas, not about drugs?"

Her paradigm from within which she comments on Rush lyrics is saturated with false premises that result in sentences that are likewise shot through with false premises; every sentence in the book is participating in her exercise in reductionism, similar to the reductionism in Luther Martin's chapter that presumes to explain the idea of the labyrinth, and misses the target when he equates the labyrinth with new excessive freedom (p.24 - footnote 17 bases this on Peter Brown's work), misses the high level and hits the low level, reductionistically, instead. 

The 'labyrinth' is not first about alienation from excessive mobility in the new Hellenistic era; the 'labyrinth' is first of all a semi-metaphorical, semi-literal description of an intense mystic-state experiential phenomenon.

The pattern is clear: scholars are constantly using books and data from the visionary-plant state, while refusing to acknowledge that they are doing so -- drawing upon its value, while disparaging it at the same time, in a self-contradictory way, to prop up the status-quo Establishment-dictated paradigm and profit from doing so: selling and compromising their intellectual integrity, to profit within the system. 

Before LSD was declared illegal in 1966, modern scholars were first guilty of ignorance, then briefly they weren't guilty (they were starting to correctly assess the situation vis-a-vis religion, philosophy, mysticism, and drugs), and then, after 1966, they were guilty not so much of ignorance, but of pretense and dissembling.  I'm displeased but not disgusted with scholarship before 1966. 

After 1966, I'm both displeased and disgusted with scholarship in the fields of spirituality, Buddhism, Christian history, religion, and mysticism, and myth.  They ought to know better, and generally they do know they are telling lies and distorting the truth until it is turned upside-down. 

Sure, some scholars remain merely guilty of mere ignorance; it's not their fault, because the enforced paradigm is so fouled up now.  But at the systemic level, the main guilt is that as soon as the scholarly world discovered the truth of these matters around 1966, the few who run the country declared LSD and effectively also declared honest scholarship about the role of visionary plants in religion to be illegal. 

Scholars do sometimes allow themselves to state the truth about shamans, because they are safely Other, savages, aliens, nonentities -- like American Indians, they are permitted and legitimized to use entheogens; entheogens are legitimate for the most heathen savages and thus may be discussed a little more accurately by scholars, as long as you keep the subject safely distant from civilized consideration of entheogens and religion. 

The most important thing for this corrupt and falsity-propounding system of compromised scholarship is to keep entheogens safely controlled in isolated pockets: it's only the lone nut Allegro, it's only the toasted deviant Tart we need to deal with as an isolated case; it's merely the foreigner Grof we can deal with, cover over, and move on from, it's only the savages' shamans who we need to address; it's only the heretical Gnostic groups who may have used the crutch of drugs instead of the traditional methods of receiving the Holy Spirit. 

The important thing is to isolate and keep each instance in solitary confinement, not let all these lone nuts, deviants, exceptions, and savages and heretics join forces and have their paradigm take over predominance from the currently reigning Establishment-authorized paradigm.

Metaphor = myth = mystic experiencing = entheogens

My core theory is the theory of ego death.  My broader theory is the theory of religion, myth, and esotericism.

In my core systematic late-modern theory of transcendent knowledge, all colorful explicit metaphor is deliberately omitted, striving to use direct technical non-metaphorical expression and conceptual models as much as possible, including when talking of transcendently jumping out of the rationalistic/deterministic worldmodel and when speculating about being forced to postulate an benevolent uncontrollable higher-level controller.  This type of modelling is akin to Plotinus.

My more general, broad, encompassing theory of the religions and of esotericism uses my core theory, mapping my core theory to various religious myths.  My theory of religion and myth is a vector starting with entheogens, then utilizing metaphor, finally pointing to ego death and rebirth (or using a less colorful, arguably more specific and direct metaphor: self-controllership crash and transcendent reset).

I only recently identified metaphor as one of my most central core pillars of my theory of religion and myth.

The book

Metaphors We Live by

George Lakoff, Mark Johnson


claims that metaphors are intrinsic to thinking, so when I say that metaphor is moving into the core of my theory of religions (if not my theory of religion), means explicit colorful metaphor

If we cannot avoid all use of metaphor in constructing a scientific systematic theory, at least we can use a highly specific, direct, and efficient use of metaphor.  More specific, direct, and efficient than has ever been done before -- with fewer irrelevancies, less gratuitous coloration, and an avoidance, rather than reveling in, the technique of colorful misleading and deliberate double-meaning. 

Avoid gratuitous coloration, avoid misleading, avoid double-meaning, eliminate ambiguities -- in that sense and effort, we can say that a modern theory is direct and free of metaphor.  Only a metaphor-free core theory is capable of explaining all systems of metaphor, by mapping those metaphorical systems to this explicit, non-metaphorical system.  Metaphor can then be used in the core explanation, but the core itself always gives priority to non-metaphorical expression.

As soon as I identified metaphor as one of 3 key components of my theory of religions, I soon thereafter began to ask whether the books confirm this, especially whether they confirm step 1 take entheogens, step 2 utilize metaphor to describe the resulting mystic-state experiences, and step 3 point to ego death and rebirth, including the 'death of the king for sanctification' metaphor.

Like Ralph Metzner's book on mythic metaphors and symbols, there is much to applaud in Neville Drury's books.  He is almost solidly entheogen-based, since his 1960s work, though posturing became more complicated and compromised for everyone after LSD was declared illegal in 1966 and everyone was forced to pretend that there was something inadequate about entheogens.  Drury's book includes a quote that classically diminishes entheogens and assures us that Jesus and suchlike didn't need such a crutch. 

The latter view contains multiple layers of error.  In fact:

·         Jesus and the apostles didn't exist

·         Christianity originated from entheogens and rests on an entheogen basis

·         Entheogens are not a crutch, but the key enabler of the mystic state of consciousness

·         Entheogens *do* efficiently offer lasting changes

Classic use of visionary plants involved not a few random sessions of dabbling, but rather, a guided series of some 8-10 sessions integrating learning of esoteric mystic-state principles, and prayers for divine protection essentially from chaos-monsters.

The only thing to complain about in Metzner and Drury is they don't take the entheogen emphasis all the way to make it the core and ground of their presented theories.

Metzner and Drury provide plenty of passages affirming my theory, but more tepidly and with coerced self-censorship due to the dynamics of prohibition, that entheogens = myth = mysticism = metaphor; in a Venn diagram, these circles all heavily overlap (this is the Radical view), rather than only slightly overlapping (the Liberal view) or being practically separate (the Conservative view). 

Metzner and Drury are Liberal-to-Radical.  Ratsch and Muller-Ebeling are more truly Radical and may provide good excerpts to support that metaphor = myth = entheogens = mystic experiencing -- without the b.s. annoying entheogen-diminishing passages inconsistently jumbled into the same books.  James Arthur may have some general commentary on myth and metaphor and mystic experiencing in his entheogen writings. 

It is hard for today's scholars to hit the right balance.  Books on entheogens focus too much on the plants and not enough on how myth alludes to the content of mystic-state experiencing, while books on myth rarely connect to mystic-state experiencing (the exception seems to be in paragraphs containing the double-speak scholastically-"correct" code-word 'shamanic'), and books on "mysticism" fail to connect-in myth or entheogens. 

I'm looking for passages that emphasize that metaphor first of all means mysticism, which first of all means entheogen-experiencing (not entheogenic plants themselves), which first of all means myth.  The essence of metaphor is myth, the essence of myth is entheogen-experiencing, and the essence of entheogen-experiencing is mysticism.  Metaphor, myth, mysticism, and entheogen-experiencing are essentially identical.

Arbel "suggests that mythological patterns of expression, as well as themes and models rooted in Near Eastern mythological traditions are employed, in a spiritualized fashion, to communicate mystical content."  To paraphrase: Myth is metaphorical description of mystic-state experiencing.  Not that myth has been occasionally innovatively used as a special spiritualized new sense, but rather that that's what myth has always really been principally about. 

Let us not speak like the academic scholars of Jewish mysticism (Gershom Scholem) uttering phrases that are soaked with a false paradigm, saying that "the traditional religious themes were reinterpreted by the Jewish mystics in a mystical allegorical sense" -- as though there were any other legitimate way to read the traditional themes, as though the mystical sense was a novel recent innovation and wasn't present at the heart of those traditions from time immemorial.

The publisher description of Arbel's book expresses the truth, but with such false overtones of supposed innovative reinterpretation in a spiritual*ized* sense: "Arbel suggests that mythological patterns of expression, as well as themes and models rooted in Near Eastern mythological traditions are employed, in a spiritualized fashion, to communicate mystical content."

Beholders of Divine Secrets: Mysticism and Myth in the Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature

Vita Arbel


"Beholders of Divine Secrets provides a fascinating exploration of the enigmatic Hekhalot and Merkavah literature, the Jewish mystical writings of late antiquity. Vita Daphna Arbel delves into the unique nature of the mystical teachings, experiences, revelations, and spiritual exegesis presented in this literature. While previous scholarship has demonstrated the connection between Hekhalot and Merkavah mysticism and parallel traditions in Rabbinical writings, the Dead Sea Scrolls, apocalyptic, early Christian, and Gnostic sources, this work points out additional mythological traditions that resonate in this literature. Arbel suggests that mythological patterns of expression, as well as themes and models rooted in Near Eastern mythological traditions are employed, in a spiritualized fashion, to communicate mystical content. The possible cultural and social context of the Hekhalot and Merkavah mysticism and its composers is discussed."

That book likely contains additional passages expressing support for the theory that metaphor = myth = mystic experiencing = entheogen-experiencing.


May 21, 2004

Maximal Entheogen Theory and Mithraism


The mushroom is near the bull's rear, at the ground, springing up where he would defecate, and the twins are looking down at that spot in some cases.  This suggests that it is a cowpie mushroom.  Why is the cow sacred?  If you have cows, you have psychoactive mushrooms, some number of them per year.


Theorizing is based on assumptions: either naive unconscious unrecognized assumptions, or systematic explicitly owned-up-to assumptions.  To "refrain from assuming" is impossible; then, one ends up operating on hidden and covert assumptions.  The existing entheogen scholars are operating on the unjustified unconscious unstated assumption that entheogens were only used in spots, in religion.  They are mistaken.  Entheogens were the norm, not the exception, as far as the important source, wellspring, and ongoing inspirational input to religions.

The minimalist theory is based on poor, unjustified assumptions.  That assumption prevents, in practice, even the entheogenists from seeing the obvious presence of entheogens: they blind themselves to the ever-entheogenic nature of the Eucharist, and they blind themselves to the presence of any plant species other than their pet species they become fixated on to the exclusion of all else. 

They think they can found their research career on the assumption that only one plant was important -- that's the monoplant fallacy, which is an unjustified and illogical, unlikely-true assumption.  Advocating a minimalist assumption or interpretive framework and research paradigm is itself an ideology of interpreting history.  Against that, we know that Hellenistic culture used lots of visionary plants -- why then maintain and cling to the assumption that a relatively conservative single-plant assumption is justified in Roman Mithraism?

Posturing at being "conservative, slow-to-concede, safe and cautious" scholars translates in practice to wearing blinders and putting on the brakes and yelling 3 cheers for the currently predominant paradigm: the minimal entheogen paradigm.  I object to scholars so crippling themselves and supporting today's bunk set of assumptions.  I'm putting the pedal to the metal to leap into a truly different way.  If you have any chance of finding evidence, you have to put on the mentality that it is there in abundance. 

Avoid speculating?  Speculating well is the real strategy that has a chance for success.  Of course there is speculation involved, in spades.  It is pointless pretense to hide that.  Only being cowed by the currently predominant paradigm scares scholars into pretending that the evidence is hard to find and hard to interpret.

There are too many benefits of the radical, maximal paradigm, that scholars are losing by adhering pointlessly to the merely liberal paradigm, which is the minimal entheogen theory of religion.


May 18, 2004

Mithras' leg portrays an Amanita Cubensis species

I have settled on interpreting this species as a combination of stropharia cubensis and Amanita.  It has a thin bluish stem, and yellow stars on a red cap.  I wrote previously that I liked that this is a psilocybin type, not an amanita, because this supports the view I favor, which I characterize as "the maximalist, multi-plant version of the entheogen theory of religion".  However, what supports that multi-plant view even more is reading this mushroom as a 2-in-1 combination of two contrasted species: cubensis, and amanita.


The color palette is messed up, and displays poorly in my web browser, so I recommend downloading this graphic and viewing in a local viewer application -- it is remarkably clear (in a graphics tool) though just a book-cover scan I did.

The German original version of Clauss' book has the picture correctly oriented:


The American version of the same book has the picture reversed:


My writings on Mithraism:


http://www.egodeath.com/HoffEgodeathGroupPostsBatch2.zip  has some recent interpretation of Mithraism, such as 1 torch up, 1 down, and the snake-wrapped time-god with lion head. (find 'mithra')  I need to integrate this into the website.

32 hits on Mithras


24 hits on Mithraism


Monoplant fallacy

An entheogen scholar can still win the important point while their individual plant theory goes down in flames.  I can only feel sorry for anyone who marries the story that one particular plant was the important entheogen in Western religion.  That is the steepest possible uphill battle.

Christians used the knowledge of Amanita but all Hellenists perhaps used wine + water + henbane + psilocybin -- not ergot, and not Amanita, which has undesirable side-effects.  I'm not married to a single plant.  To do so would be to make oneself too vulnerable.  An entheogen scholar's position doesn't really stand-or-fall based on their particular favored plant theory.  The monoplant fallacy is one point where I condemn (heavily criticize and reject) today's half-baked version of the entheogen theory of religion.

Complicated single-plant entheogen theories of religion will crash when people found a simpler version that they prove works like a charm (wine-soaked psilocybin mushrooms -- cow pie mushrooms -- for example).

They say the mysteries at Eleusis couldn't have used mushrooms -- "there wouldn't have been enough available".  Did they cultivate mushrooms, like mere teenagers almost routinely do today without problem even though forbidden?

John M. Allegro

I give Allegro high acclaim and state that he shall be vindicated on the general point of subtracting Historical Jesus and inserting visionary plants, with Amanita serving at least as a symbolic flagship representing such magical plants. 

Allegro will be vindicated.  He may be now in the midst of being vindicated.  To go up against Allegro's essential theory is hopeless.  Anyone who tries has chosen the losing side in a battle of their own construction.

Maximal entheogen theory of religion

The entheogen theory of religion is past the stage of mere "hypothesis".  There is no "hypothesis" of entheogens, and I was just forced to (obviously) bullshit pretending that the jury was still out, when writing "Eucharist Was Visionary Plants" webpage/posting and saying the material was "possible evidence" for such view.  Obviously, it is not "possible evidence", it is clear proof and now the only question is, not "if", but rather, *to what extent* in human history has entheogens = religion.

But now we need to make the entheogen theory truly a *theory* -- that is, a systematic model.

I almost, but don't quite, think that enlightenment is only authentic if through drugs.  Here is the best way to gauge the degree of my position.  Consider the currently predominant view that grudgingly admits entheogens are mystical, but proclaims them the barest shadow of authenticity, a degeneration, a parody, a mere coincidence, compared to the grand "traditional" method, meditation + ritual + chanting + asceticism.  Now simply invert that view, and you get an exact idea of my position. 

I grudgingly admit that mysticism is possible without entheogens, but I totally disparage that approach (drug-free meditation, flagellation, drug-free drumming, etc.) as inefficient, nontraditional, irrelevant, lacking authority, degenerated, a cheap artificial innovation, unnatural, not supported by the sources, purely modern (OSC-based), etc. 

I'm an enemy of the monoplant fallacy and of scholars insofar as they align themselves with the monoplant fallacy or with the *minimal* entheogen theory of religion.  Against them, I'm a maximalist, which includes the multi-plant premise.  That is where the true point of contention currently lies: a minimalist vs. maximalist emphasis.

Lack of evidence for the entheogen theory of religion: Who has even started looking for residue in cups?  The clueless have probably ruined all the cups before even thinking of looking for that kind of evidence.  "Lack of evidence" translates to actually "lack of having a clue of what to look for". 

The *instant* we started looking for entheogens in religion, we've had no problem finding them; we began just the other day -- hell, we largely have yet to even begin looking for evidence, because we haven't really formulated a decent hypothesis yet, what with the entheogen scholars themselves taking it for granted that (supposedly) "big bad Christianity has totally forgotten the entheogenic nature of the eucharist for two thousand years" -- a view I think preposterous, given that there are visionary plants and allusions here and there in Christian culture.

There is a de-facto conspiracy now in Spirituality to shut out the unbeatable competitor, psychedelics.  These spiritualists' position is a product of Prohibition.  Spiritual disparagement of psychedelics by boomer spiritualists started after 1966, when LSD became illegal.  Suddenly "we've outgrown that crutch" became the tune they all played -- a kind of sour grapes song.

Myth is metaphor for mystic experiencing, more than metaphor for the plants themselves

What would anyone disagree with in Ruck?  Plant choice?  But that is a trivial, unimportant debate, a mere detail.  I suspect he has a weak theory of myth, too grounded in the ordinary state of consciousness, that halts short at "myth means plants" when in fact myth means the experience caused by plants, metaphorically described, first of all -- especially, death of the king.  This is my theory of metaphor/myth, published and expounded online for years and esp. the past year.

People's complaints about the etymology of "entheogens"

There are readings of "entheo" that are perfectly compatible with all the various theology theories.  It really just means "intense mystic altered state" as opposed to ordinary state of consciousness.  Individual words aren't that important.  It's best to call them "psychotomimetics" for that matter.  People tried shifting the vocabulary to no avail -- it's just a shell game that avoids the real issue.  Reform efforts too often end up avoiding dealing with the real issue.

Ego death has nothing to do with egoism, humility in the mundane realm, self-help, or self-conduct

The choice of how to conduct oneself in daily life has nothing to with ego death; they are wholly different independent orders of concern.  I want to (more) isolate ego death from mere mundane-life concerns, lest we lose the higher by diluting it and dragging it down into the lower. 

What dilutes and drags down ego death is the assumption that ego death cares one way or another about trivialities such as mannerisms in daily life.

I'd rather sever the high from the low and praise the high as high, than dissolve the high into the low as is the strong current propensity to mistake mere daily-life self-help (psychology, personal conduct) for transcendent enlightenment.  Right conduct and enlightenment are drastically different orders of concern.  Enlightenment is not about right conduct in mere daily life -- the idea that it is, is associated with the bunk, inert, magazine Buddhism that's now predominant.  The lower form of religion is concerned with personal conduct; the higher, with enlightenment.

Ego death has little to do with self-conduct in mundane life.  If you value certain self-conduct, just say you value it, and do it -- don't dilute and blur the grand topic of mystic-state ego death, dragging 'ego death' into the petty realm of self-help.  If you want to avoid certain behavior, then avoid it because you don't like it -- don't drag down ego death theory with such petty pop definitions. 

I'm with the Alan Watts school on this.  Let us not have over lofty and precious conceptions of what ego death gives a damn about.  "I believe we should only flush the toilet with solids, not when liquids, because that's the ego-death enlightened thing to do."  Absurd, irrelevant, mixing the lofty with the petty details of the style of conducting oneself. 

Ego death and transcendence cannot be reduced to formulas of mundane interpersonal conduct -- that is soiling the grand revelation with petty schoolmarm concerns.  Let the fake-o pop spiritualists (magazine Buddhism) play that reductionist move.  The enlightened man may very well drive off with the farmer's ox.  (So to speak.)  If the Buddha gossipped, you'd hit him and say "you're not allowed to do that -- you're enlightened!"

The usage of the term 'ego' as in egoism needs to be kept fully distinct from the term 'ego' in 'ego death' -- not simply equated.  I have little trust in talk of 'ego' as in egoism -- it's a questionable construct to some extent.  The term 'ego' as in egoism, is just used with so much confidence and with so little definition and reflection, I don't trust it and I dislike how people simply try to equate it with the term 'ego' in 'ego death'. 

Egoism is barely and only remotely related to 'ego' as in ego death; they are of wholly different orders of experiencing and mental dynamics.

Scholarship; On research

Academics are credential-driven and always keeping track of the stock market of esteem, who is correct to quote and who is correct to ignore -- it's exactly how their game works.  I don't do that, so I'm kicked out of their game.  That is the rules of their game -- and there is a bit of reason behind it, but it's debatable, certainly has many con's.

Academics depend on income from their stock value of their appearing esteemed. 

Acharya S' theory (lack of actual *integration* of her afterthought addition of entheogens; she uses entheogens as a club to bash Christianity crudely), and her motives of choosing what to write and how to write it based on the project of demolishing religion, instead of understanding it. 

I only give a damn about theory, about what really happened, about what people were really thinking.   I don't even care what the future of Christianity is -- as long as we have recovered the truth about visionary plants throughout religious, Western, and Christian history, and understand how ego death works in terms of systematic theory and cognitive science.

My main focus is the intersection of or trajectory: entheogens -->> metaphor -->> self-control seizure/ego death.

It is hard to assign credit to each scholars because it's not clear how so-called "new" ideas come about.  Ideas want to spread, memes.  It's unclear philosophically, how ideas spread, and exactly who thought of what first.  Hard to say sometimes.  Hard to keep track, often.

Associating one's theory with pantheism vs. dualism: Be careful, monism or panentheism vs. dualism is endlessly debatable, highly speculative and interpretive and variable in meanings.  Not simple.  I'd not make my theory depend on advocating one at the expense of another.  Don't make your theory needlessly overthrowable. 

My full theory isn't really even centered on entheogens, in my mind -- more on metaphor and self-control seizure, cognitive dynamics.

Online discussion is a tough art.  Most scholars are just as horrible and inept at online exchange, susceptible to flaming, as any teenager.

I'm proposing a billboard where we track who contributed what.  Because it is impossible to know what scholars even *think* they have contributed.


May 17, 2004

What Is Enlightenment? magazine mentions LSD without striving to diminish it

This issue, #25, miraculously, permitted an author to include some non-disparaging commentary on LSD that didn't strive to diminish LSD -- at least not nearly as much as usual.

http://www.wie.org/j25/?nav=1 shows the table of contents.

"Thoughts on the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, and Collective Consciousness" -- "When huge audiences voyage together through rock and roll heaven, where are they going, and what does it all mean?" -- Ross Robertson

Wilber's 'States vs. Stages' Theory Is Just the Ancient Initiation-Series


"Following the Grain of the Kosmos: States, Stages, Selves, and the Directionality of Development" -- "Who are we and how do we evolve? In their latest dialogue, these pioneers of a new worldview explore the transformative power of the Authentic Self and reach for the miraculous collective potentials that lie on the horizon." -- Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber

In this discussion-article, Wilber talks about states vs. stages.  He explains that you have to be much immersed in an altered state (he doesn't say "repeatedly, like 10 times" -- I don't have the quote) -- before you can retain and thus really attain the higher stage of psychospiritual development. 

So Wilber has re-discovered the perennial tradition and principle of a bounded series of repeated altered-state initiations, and he has re-discovered the perennial principle of ceasing the series of reincarnations.  He almost says "backsliding".  But he hasn't yet realized that this is what he's done.  He is ignorant of Western esotericism and mythic metaphor.

Whatever is wrong with today's notions of spirituality, the errors come through in a particularly important or clear way in Wilber, because his theory presentation is so clear.  He almost has numbered principles you can debug, unlike the formless nebulous haze of most spirituality writers.  He is systematic, therefore easy to identify flaws in.

Bickering and posturing among entheogen scholars over particular plants

Entheogen scholars:

If you show me nondisclosable information, you must be sufficiently specific that I cannot alude to it.  For one thing, it can be hard to remember what I've promised not to say, but that's not really a problem.  The problem is when people tell me things and aren't clear about whether, or what, I can repeat online.  I know some books and research certain researchers have been doing (they told me), but I am never sure whether or not I am allowed to mention their work which I much anticipate.

I sent one message in particular to the entheogen scholars, urging them to fully critique and criticize each other but also to fully support each other's work insofar as all this research agrees on the big theme, that entheogens were used in religious origins.  I am a friend of everyone, and I have criticized the hell out of what I perceive to be the flaws and limitations in each scholar's work.  So I encourage you to build good will in addition to clear and specific disagreement.  We have to pull together regarding the overarching thesis of entheogens in religious origins.

It is crucial that you stay always glad to be close friends of each researcher, even if they see it differently.  This does not mean slacking back on your project of identifying their theory's flaws.  We are each others' most valuable critics.

I bow and worship Dan Merkur's generous dedication to further research along the entheogen religion trajectory of discovery.   Particular plants don't matter.  Ergot is fine, datura is fine, the best entheogen is opium, or hashish, or Amanita, or Henbane, or hemlock, for all I care.  To hell with any particular plant.  What matters is the only real point: visionary plants are the origin of religion. 

Most entheogen scholars choose to put near-extreme focus on a single plant, but when I asked them, they pointed out that they do mention multiple plants and the general theory of the visionary-plant basis of religion.

It is good that there is disagreement among entheogen scholars.  The channels of debate and communication and correction must remain fully open.  I don't "do" petty personal disputes -- I don't care one bit about anything except the truth; personal considerations fall away because I have zero interest in them -- that's different than people who get all wrapped up in personal defense and attack.  I simply set filters to let the information through, and automatically delete the personal aspect. 

You probably, like everyone, could learn to communicate more skilfully, so that there would only be a limited amount of personal-social junk in discussions between entheogen scholars.

I would like to know what researchers are working on and how they view my writings.

This field cannot afford to have personal battles -- only professional debates and disputes about the information and facts at hand about the case for the visionary-plant basis of religion.

I favor psilocybin mushrooms over the ergot hypothesis, but these were all lumped together anyway, so it doesn't much matter.  Psilocybin has the advantage of instant provability of full plausibility: simply take wine, dump in mushroom powder, soak, mix with water, drink, and experience the mythic metaphorically described phenomena reported by the religions, with no side effects, re-dosable to extend the duration of the experience.

In Praise of John M. Allegro's pioneering work

There's a lack of taking entheogen scholars' work to its logical full satisfying and coherent conclusions -- this lack occurs like a sickness within the center of the field, not just outside of it or on the periphery.

There is much absurd disparagement of Allegro for the lamest of "reasons".  Allegro has become a rallying point, a battle line.  I generally favor Allegro: he was a pioneer of deleting Jesus and inserting psychoactive mushrooms.  But I effusively thank Merkur as well, even though he has married one particular plant, ergot, too much.  His book Gnosis covers Gnosis in the broadest sense, and has some favorable discussion of mushrooms in Gnostic practice, perhaps in other Western esotericism practice as well.

Buy and read all the books and journal articles from all the entheogen scholars, and work hard to get everyone else to buy and read them too.  Pull together on the big picture overarching theory, while debating internally about details and scope.  I've done a lot to promote all the books about the entheogen theory of religion.  I'm just sorry to see Merkur's books selling so little, compared to some other books in that category.  His last few books are essential to the field -- it would be a loss if they weren't available.

Information so you can buy books about the entheogen theory of religion:


Merkur has been getting the general word out, as an academician subject to those constraints -- though there are downsides of spreading the minimal and monoplant entheogen theory of religion.  It's promoting a merely Liberal, as opposed to a Radical, paradigm.

I am aligned with Allegro, as are Timothy Freke (whether he consciously knows it or not) and James Arthur, and some scholars do set themselves up totally against Allegro -- as though their paycheck depends on Allegro being maximally discredited.  "Allegro must decrease, so that I may increase."  They are as though jealous: if they admit that Allegro was right, then they must admit they were wrong to kick him around while posing as superior, which they have done. 

I'm not against Merkur and Ruck and Heinrich; I advocate them.  But I also advocate Allegro, and anyone who puts themselves against Allegro, building their greatness on making him seem small, would see me as the opponent pulling in their other direction, as I am intent on giving Allegro accolades for a major breakthrough.  I am withholding these particular accolades from the later scholars, and I am blocking people from redirecting these accolades from Allegro to the later researchers.

They are tempted to set themselves up as saviors from Allegro -- it's as though we took to beating up the figure of Tim Leary in order to be seen as delivering the goods instead.  It would be useful to gather a collection of rude broad-brush dismissals of Allegro in the books by other entheogen scholars.

All these scholars do good work, except that some of them think they should try to play it as a zero-sum game, trying to elevate themselves by kicking-down Allegro, partly as a way of trying to steal the credit that Allegro earned, regarding the general entheogen theory of religion.

Big Bang, Big Crunch, and Hybrids for Christian Origins

It is helpful to clearly define two opposed and irreconcilable views -- the extreme Big Bang view against the extreme Big Crunch view -- and afterwards, seek some kind of summed, compromise hybrid of the two distinct, opposite models.

Per the debate about the Great Man theory of history, it is possible for a movement to start from both a Big Crunch and a Big Bang operating in conjunction.  Circumstances come together first, then a fitting individual comes along, and gets propelled to great influence, such that his potential is fully manifested in and through and because of an optimal circumstance.  The subsequent events were both "caused by" that individual, and he came along after circumstances had already formed almost to the point of forming him. 

In the Big Bang theory, Jesus' actual existence and actions themselves are the real initial cause of the start of Christianity, and are the real original basis at the beginning of the ever-evolving Jesus figure. 

As scholars increasingly find how circumstances themselves generated the Jesus figure, those who retain the 'Historical Jesus kernel' view are likely to embrace a reconstructed model of Christian origins, and a process-of-formation of the Jesus figure, that acknowledges Big Crunch factors as well as the usual Big Bang theory.  They'd say the idea of Jesus was in the air all over the Roman empire, and then the actual individual Jesus arrived, and then the idea of Jesus was in the air that much more, surpassing a threshold point.

I think that the Big Bang and Big Crunch models are irreconcilable and that we can be sure and conclude, with reasonable certainty, there was no historical Jesus in any significant sense.  However, it's still necessary to identify a spectrum of self-coherent views on the matter, and learn to truly think from within each view, really try it out and try it on, take it for a test drive and not be alienated from it.  Build each view so much that you can believe in it, and then critique and judge which view, in its best dress, seems most plausible, probable, reasonable, and likely.

Critical thinking requires seriously constructing a generous, best-case portrayal of two or three proposed theories: pitting a carefully refined version of one's own theory against a worst-case misportrayal of the other theory is a worthless, biased, unfair comparison.  Ideally one could do an excellent job of arguing for and defending either case: be able to persuasively rattle off all the best arguments in favor of the Big Bang theory (or the historicist theory of Christian origins) and be able to persuasively rattle off all the best arguments and portrayal of the Big Crunch theory.

This means building up the case that you tend to disagree with, not only building up your own case -- and then, showing how the opposed case, in its best presentation, is inferior to one's own case, in its best presentation.  To argue against the other, you have to master thinking like the other.  This general mastery of two opposed views by one person happens commonly when a historicist sets out to disprove the ahistoricists, and ends up converting himself to an ahistoricist.  The main, important debate happens in one's own mind, both parties or advocates residing together in a single mind.


May 16

Gathered latest commentary on the song "Free Will"


In the Freewill commentary, see the section:

The Song Freewill Is about Transcending, not Denying, Determinism

Be sure to read what I've written in the past 9 months about magically transcending determinism.  My previous writings largely halted at determinism.  During the past 9 months I've added an integrated story of magic and transcendent supernatural mystic philosophy.


Still not integrated yet - probably has a ton on high transcendent magic.


Historical discussion of polit. aspects of Xn origins

About the term 'Radical'

Regarding the Jesus Mysteries book, Jesus & the Goddess, and the analysis of Christian origins in terms of Conservative/ Liberal/ Radical views: is there too large a political element to this analysis, overplayed to the detriment of the scholarship?

The distinction between political analysis and scholarship is a debatable distinction and possible false dichotomy.  It is a contested issue, of whether or not the political element is centrally crucial in recovering the true origins of Christianity and the early evolution of the meanings of the Jesus figure.  Good historical scholarship may determine that the origins of the Jesus figure precisely consisted of a large political element. 

The mystery cult based on the Jesus figure, especially around the Constantinian/Eusebian house-church takeover era, was exactly distinguished by its hallmark incorporation of socio-political themes.  Conservative-to-liberal scholars of early Christianity put all possible emphasis on spiritual reasons for the spread of Christianity; in contrast, liberal-to-radical scholars of early Christianity put much emphasis on socio-political reasons for the formative evolution of the Jesus figure. 

Conservatives: "The mysteries of Christian origins are to be explained by reference to impressive spiritual experiences." 

Liberals: "The mysteries of Christian origins are to be explained by reference to social considerations."  (Rodney Stark)

Radicals: "The mysteries of Christian origins are more naturally, straightforwardly, and plausibly explained in terms of socio-*political* maneuverings as the main influential critical factor."

The use of the surface terminology of 'conservative', 'liberal', and 'radical' doesn't have to imply modern political positions or concerns.  These terms are merely arbitrary, useful grouping constructs.  The labels used could just as well be "View X, View Y, and View Z" or "the N. T. Wright view, the Rodney Stark view, and the Joseph McCabe view".

The terminology of Conservative vs. Liberal is already well-established and defined within modern Christianity; it is merely an extrapolation and completion of that already given system to add and fill-in the inadvertently implied remaining position, the Radical view.  And the term Radical was already established around 1887, with the Dutch Radical Critics, regarding Edwin Johnson's book Antiqua Mater (http://radikalkritik.de/antiqua_mater.htm). 

Article defining 'Radical' in one area:

Van Manen and the Dutch Radicals

http://radikalkritik.de/nashville.htm -- "In spite of their many different opinions, for example about the historicity of Jesus, the Dutch Radicals agreed that none of the so-called Pauline epistles were authentic. They argued that these epistles were written in the second century. ... In this regard the ideas of the Dutch Radicals were rather extreme.  The most well-known Radicals are ... Loman, ... van Manen and ... Eysinga."

"The name ‘Dutch Radicals’ originated in an article by Loman himself. In 1887 he wrote a review of a book by E. Johnson, Antiqua Mater: a Study of Christian Origins. In this review Loman says that the author is a radical like we seldom meet among theologians and hardly ever among English theologians. In this article he uses the word ‘radical’ in a positive sense. In his opinion we should be ‘radical’ in our study of the New Testament epistles. Others argued that these scholars were too ‘radical’ in their studies. Loman and his followers considered the word ‘radical’ a name of honour. Van Manen later spoke of the ‘radical’ or the ‘Dutch’ school. The ‘radical’ scholars did not want to be impeded by church canons and wanted to be free in their research of the New Testament and of the history of early Christianity. This research led them to the conclusion that we do not have any authentic Pauline epistles."

"Most Dutch Radicals belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church, the largest Protestant Church in the Netherlands. Especially in this Church the Radicals attracted much attention. For a better understanding it is necessary to take a brief look at the circumstances of the Dutch Reformed Church in the nineteenth century, after which we will discuss Van Manen who exemplified the Dutch Radicals."

The term 'Radical' is useful for people who feel incorrect the mixed view that is offered as "enlightened, as opposed to the Conservative view".  Some non-Conservatives don't find the Liberal view significantly enlightening in fields and topics related to religion, including the Liberal supposedly progressive and enlightened theories of myth, mysticism, spirituality, Christian origins, religious experiencing, and Western esotericism. 

For some non-Conservatives, the Conservative view is not even a possible candidate; it is for them dead and irrelevant; but the proffered alternative, the Liberal view in these fields, may gradually appeared more and more bunk and hopelessly off-base.  Seeking some Radical view can provide a more satisfying alternative -- a view that goes beyond and moves away from the liberal view like the liberal view goes beyond and moves away from the conservative view.

The term 'Radical', with regard to a model of Christian origins, can usefully be defined with broader scope than the Dutch 'Radical' Critics.  'Radical' can even usefully characterize views on several related topics including theories of myth, mysticism, spirituality, religious experiencing, and Western esotericism. 

Each such topic can be coherently split into Conservative, Liberal, and Radical theories of the topic, such that the Conservative theories/histories of myth, Christian origins, mysticism, etc. interlock, and the Radical theories of myth, Christian origins, mysticism, etc. interlock. 

The simplest wide-scoped Radical theory of Christian origins is that no Pauline epistles are authentic, that there was no Jesus, no Paul, no apostles; primarily Alexandrian origin of Christianity, then its takeover by Rome, nearly failing to ever arrive in its purported ground zero of Jerusalem. 

An even wider-scoped Radical uber-theory can then be coherently defined, interlinking Radical theories across multiple religion-related areas. This Radical uber-theory can include an alternative theory of what myth is really all about (intense mystic-state rather than ordinary-state experiences), and a historically reconstructed model of power-manipulation strategies that transformed house-church eucharistic meal gatherings into region-divvied masses conducted, governed, and controlled by government-appointed authoritarian bishops.

This Radical uber-theory does not need to include consideration of Radical politics in a modern context

One of the newly active areas of scholarly research and theorizing now about Christian origins is exactly the "large political element" -- the Context Group, including Malina and Horsley.

About the relevance of historical investigation of certain political and socio-political aspects of Christian origins

Christian origins were centrally a matter of a "large political element".  The historical Jesus was a product of essentially socio-political considerations and strategic maneuverings, in addition to the usual intense religious-experiencing dimension that was almost generically ubiquitous in that era.  The specifically religious-experiencing dimension is important to comprehend, but it cannot explain the distinctive dynamics of the Christian version of Hellenistic-era religion.

A certain kind of politically focused discussion, and similarly a certain kind of mysticism-focused discussion, is directly and centrally relevant for a purely historical analysis.  A purely historical discussion of the political aspects of Christian origins is needed for an adequate, coherent reconstruction.  Similarly, a purely historical discussion of the *mystical* aspects of Christian origins is needed for an adequate, coherent reconstruction. 

Bercot's dictionary of so-called "early Christian beliefs" would be a useful source of excerpts of writings of the Church Fathers (mostly top-down, ruling-class, house-church takeover strategists) showing their consistently textual strategic maneuverings, arranged by topic.  Under Docetism it redirects you to the 4 pages or so on Gnosticism.  There is a 2-4 page entry on Eucharist, which focuses much on the presence of Jesus in the flesh. 

A particular system of interpretive reading guided by a certain hermeneutics of suspicion successfully enables consistently translating the Church Fathers' statements to not read them straightforwardly in a pious spiritual sense, but rather, as rhetorical strategic maneuvers intended to delegitimate every version of religion except the version they were intent on establishing, with themselves riding on top of the victorious version for personal worldly gain.  Any resemblance to modern American Radical political thought would be an issue for a different forum.

A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs: A Reference Guide to More Than 700 Topics Discussed by the Early Church Fathers

David Bercot (Ed.)



Sample pages online

The canon and the (so-called) "early" "Christian" writings are, and therefore need to be read as, more like a dirty no-holds-barred, flame-war exchange with material gain at stake (such as tithe-profiteering and aristocratic social honor), rather than a calm, regulated debate, textbook, or plain report.

A historical study of the textual rhetoric of ecstatic claims and authority in the early Christian era, which urges us to recognize what was written as competitive polemical rhetoric of delegitimation:

"An Ecstasy of Folly": Prophecy and Authority in Early Christianity

Laura Nasrallah


Dec. 2003

I suspect that through 250-313 CE, Christianity became more explicitly politicized, with parties on opposing sides both trying to charge the Jesus figure with more political and socio-political revolutionary overtones, so that both ended up forming the central emphasis on Jesus as crucified failed rebel king.  For many researchers, they consider the Jesus figure's important inputs to have been all contributed by 150 CE.  However, I doubt moderns would at all recognize the predominant versions of Jesus in 150 CE.

I doubt that even the basic original Jesus figure (as moderns would define 'basic') was formed by 150 CE.  I have a hunch from Hellenistic considerations that much of the basic input to the Jesus figure (as we know it) was Roman political ideas and figurations from around 250 CE.  All kinds of extreme stresses in Roman stability of government, and chronic assassinations of Caesars, and I think Hellenistic apocalypses, were happening around 250 CE as these were essential, basic, original inputs to the Jesus figure. 

Also Mithraism was aligned with Roman government and military, and I think around 250 to 350, many elements from Mithraism were added into the Jesus figure to form, only at such late date, what we'd define as the basic Jesus figure.  I doubt we'd much recognize the Jesus figure even as late as 225.  The stacks of books on "Christian origins" don't provide much insight into this possibility, because they strive to keep highly segregated, Christian formation and Hellenistic inputs. 

Along the lines of J. Z. Smith in Drudgery Divine, we instead need a model of side-by-side development over several centuries, of various Hellenistic religions and related cultural aspects, next to developing Christianity and next to developing Jewish religion and culture.  The received view of Christian origins is most reluctant to portray and clearly organize such a presentation. 

Per Smith, the mythicists are also oversimplistic in that they pay no attention to side-by-side evolutionary development  of Christianity and the Hellenistic religions.  The mythicists compare a certain static, monolithic portrayal of Christianity with a certain static, monolithic portrayal of the mystery-religions -- too crude of an approach; it has just led to unresolvable and unenlightening arguments that these religions were the same or that they were different.


May 15, 2004

The exact sequence of thoughts forming the core of the loose-cognition labyrinth

What are the exact thoughts that constitute the bull killing the child-self in the middle of the labyrinth of thinking about self-controllership in the state of loose cognition?  What thoughts exactly made people verbally, trembling, cry out, in the advanced divine-madness hyper-rational state, "Uncle!  Mercy!  Please have mercy on me!" to a compassionate hidden transcendent uncontrollable controller residing outside the frozen spacetime system?  This question is the heart and core of ego death: the slaying of personal control agency.

The bold intrepid mystic positions himself as primary sovereign agent against destiny itself.  The prophet announces to the king that he is subject and slave to his pre-set destiny; the king sets himself up against this destiny (the king's opposition was itself destined), and loses.  You cannot battle against destiny and win, but you can win through passing through your destiny.

Work out your salvation in fear and trembling.  This is not a calm prayer, but an edge-of-disaster, dire straits, what an insane state I have discovered -- and one is stimulated to reach up to that state at the same time as being horrified, really the same feeling as Abraham lifting the knife to kill his firstborn son, and actually some drastic sacrifice is desired: one positively wants to retain this obviously true and desirable revelation, yet the price of grasping and walking away with this revelation is some great price, staring directly into the jaws of a brilliant genius insanity; you have to be a truth maniac to make it to this level of the game.

You have to have made a religion out of clear and incisive, discerning and sophisticated thinking about the nature of self-controllership, of personal governing agency, of personal control-power.  You have to have pursued logic, reason, and control-dynamics to their utter end, gathering together your full power, with the full armament of loose cognition as well. 

Frazer says the king is killed when his power starts to fade: actually, the king can only be killed at the full gathering of his power; it takes the king's full power to be able to rise up willingly to be able to will his own loss-of-control, to know what it is to experience and grasp the idea of willingly willing his own loss-of-control if that is what it takes to grasp the truth about his nature as a self-control agent. 

To will your own loss of control even when this is the very opposite of what you ever would want to do -- only divine transcendent reasoning can attain to grasping this.  One does not have to will the loss of control, but rather, grasp the profundity of the idea of willing the loss of control.  When one's full is allowed to fully be coerced, in principle and in imagination, if not in practice, or when one sees that one's will inherently has always been secretly coerced, and now consciously coerced. 

Surely when a literal king has someone slain he does so in a way that gives the person a choice or is framed that way.  The mystic peak-state choice is something like "jump out of the system (honor and pleadingly acknowledge divine control-power over you), or go insanely/sanely out of control. 

My individual statements here cannot be taken as gospel truth -- but the general tenor and types of ideas here are gospel truth.  This *type* of reasoning, about personal sovereign government power, about frozen control-thought injection, about divine madness centering about controllership when time is realized as illusion -- these are reported commonly as the norm of the dark night of wrestling with the angel. 

The moment of pleading for divine mercy and rescue from outside the system, for compassion and benevolence on an emergency-postulated uncontrollable higher-level controller exempt from this logical rational system, is the moment of regeneration and instant salvation. 

Instant karma may have happened a minute before, when you relax and float up into the heavens, the sphere of the fixed stars (cosmic determinism and beyond), only to catch a glimpse of a thought that kills, a gorgon monster thought, the death-face, that sends the rebel demon careening backwards falling for days, then the prayer for impossible rescue from hell, the tomb, the land of the dead.

First the flight toward the sun, then the loss of control, then the fall, then the despair and then the trembling humble prayer sending a transdimensional SOS as a frozen ship, to outside the system, then instant rescue.  The 'instant' in 'instant karma' is the titanic pride before the fall.  Proudly lifting one's head up to the fixed stars and beyond, a brazen act which only the sincere initiate would deliberately try -- one who has been electrocuted before and has already learned terror of it -- leads to falling down from this land of giant-consciousness, down chained into the prison in the underworld, opposite of the heavens one glimpsed into just moments before. 

Only with anti-giant consciousness -- that is, humble trembling respectful prayer as one in the midst of dire straits, up one's creek without any paddle -- is one then straightaway lifted up into heavenly light beyond cosmic determinism, being only now revealed as one of the elect, one of the chosen race, a member of the chosen nation, true Israel, which includes true Sufi mystics who give all controllership-attribution to Allah (there are no other controllers/gods), with God's name on your forehead as one of God's redeemed, elect, with your name found already in the book of life written before time began.

These things are partly reasonings, and partly reports, and partly reports of reasonings.  There is the experience of pulling yourself together as a power wielding primary sovereign control agent, but then experiencing that power become turned against itself, resulting in system hang.

The thoughts are injected into the king's head, thoughts of the problem of controlling control, thoughts of having no control over the thoughts that arise in the mind, the feeling of helplessness at resisting the thoughts that possess their own freedom beyond and outside the control of the supposed controller.  If you are in control and possess it, how come you cannot even control what thoughts enter your mind? 

The god proves his point by inserting horrific unwanted thoughts, whatever thoughts are by definition the most anti-desirable: control-chaos thoughts, loss-of-control thoughts, committing-mayhem thoughts -- for those are precisely the type of thoughts that are required, to prove the point, that the controller-agent is a helpless slave to whatever control-thoughts are injected and forced into him by the spacetime block, which has been allegorized per Geiger and Matrix and Star Trek as machine-world: alien ship, Matrix, Borg.

One awakens to find oneself entirely caught, that one has always been secretly caught, as a helpless cog in a vacant frozen timeless machine world -- and that this is the only, perfectly logical assessment of the situation.  One reaches the discovery of the truth and dies in a heartless machine-world. 

The only viable recovery must lie outside the system, and this "outside the system" forms the tradition of the doctrine of dualism, even against Plotinus' interpretation which amounts to that the benevolent mysterious uncontrollable controller outside the system is also the creator of the problematic system.  It's a debatable interpretive difference. 

Upon the first shocking encounter with the truth, the king simply instinctively recoils and ducks, running away from truth which was not exactly sought.  But after, per Wilber, the usual translations within one's existing mental mode fail to satisfy or work, one hungers for another encounter, trying to accommodate one's thinking to the terrifying revelation. 

Finally the king becomes willing to sacrifice himself and willingly divinely ritually lose control as long as the revelation is latched onto and passed on to other people.  The godman image encapsulates this kingly sacrifice, so it is necessary to explain this godman image; to successfully explain that is to have sacrificed oneself and passed the prophetic revelation on.


Remember, you were at work and then Friday at five

I remember, felt like a pawn, was I dead or alive?

I remember, thought no one could hear me, I was goin' insane.

I remember, it was a real fine line, now you've changed my life around.


Remembering when first I held the wheel in my own hand

I took the helm so easily and sailed for distant lands

But now the sea's too heavy

And I just don't understand

Why must my crew desert me

When I need, I need a guiding hand"


He's got to walk a fine line

And keep his self control


You wake up lost

In an empty town

Wondering why no one else is around

Look up to see a giant boy

You've just become his brand new toy

And no escape, no place to hide

Here where time and space collide"


Guidance systems break down
A struggle to exist -- to resist
A pulse of dying power
In a clenching plastic fist



In distress

The logic of self-control seizure climax  (May 11, 2004)

It is crucial to have a simplified model of ego death but with best judgment of what is actually important, such as entheogens, psychotomimetic, psilocybin mixed-wine.  In simplicity of core model is strength and broad usefulness.

To bring on self-control breakdown climax, which is the goal and door, amplify this logic, brainstorm maximally on this.  Then pray for rescue and salvation from outside the system you've constructed, when there's a choice between a miracle and logical control-chaos mayhem.

Critically needed is an explanation of the labyrinth logic of the Minotaur.  What is the exact sequence of specific thoughts forming self-control seizure of the sovereign king (personal autonomous control agent)?  What is the chain of thoughts, the frozen river of mental constructs, the worldline thread woven and cut by the inebriated Fates (labyrinth thread) that constitutes self-control seizure, defeat, calling "Uncle", verbalized cry for mercy?  This which has been so lost in modern OSC-based Buddhism. 

Personal agency power sets itself up as an opponent to the rational block-universe determinism model while both are held at the same time by one mind, and then are slammed against each other in the final battle, with viable controller agency preserved only by, we might say, destroying both rational frozen-time block-universe determinism and the delusion of personal autonomous agency. 

The trans-rational result is a new self and a new world, as far as the mind's mental worldmodel that walks away from the disastrous final battle of rationality versus will power.  You try to be as logical as possible to presumably gain the most power possible, but the more logical and rational your thinking becomes, the *less* power you find you wield.  Perfect logic results in zero personal power as an autonomous self-steering locus of controllership power or personal governing power.  This is the logic of self-control seizure climax.

Think: "Should false memories thoughts of inevitable compelledness come down, injected into my mind, I have no defense (Achille's heel) -- I am defenseless against such an event, betrayed from inside."  "Dark Father, we have found that there actually is vulnerability in the Death Star."  This is the only thing that matters at all; spell out the riddle that locks up the mind (Alan Watts' article in This Is It on "Zen and the Problem of Control", and the riddle-that-kills in the book by Hofstadter (Ed.) _The Mind's I_. 

Per Watts, the mind has a justifiable practical need for loose play, as opposed to hyper-rational control struggling to exert perfect control over its own controllership or control-power over its own control-power.  Perfectly tight control ends inevitably seizing-up.  Why is this hyper-rational self-control seizure logic-trapping dynamic impossible to achieve in tight-cognition -- why is it possible only in the loose cognitive state? 

The mind hunting for enlightenment comes upon the goddess naked bathing in the forest, and so she kills him by turning him into an animal: a deer, so that his hunting dogs upon him, the hunter.  The mind comes upon its own system hang in the middle of the frozen-worldline labyrinth now recognized as suspended in the spacetime block. 

The higher mind is drawn like a moth to a flame by a tractor beam, toward the holy of holies, the bull-room in the middle of the labyrinth of self-control seizure, the control-vortex whirlwind-up-to-heaven, system hang on the cosmic crystal computer.  Self-hanging system-seizure control vortex: try to steer through scilla and charybdis. 

Praying is for mercy and acknowledging the need for assistance from a thought or belief ("faith") from outside the rational logical system of thought, the prison of rationality the mind has built under the deluded hope for personal empowerment. 

Prayer and faith are the saving thought and belief from outside the system of thought -- mental worldmodel, mixed wine madness -- of timeless frozen block-universe determinism machine, a machine which completely threatens to send the mind, through helpless feedbacking thought-injection, into holy berserk control-chaos. 

The machine is the problem; the mind can only depend on rescue by having or receiving thoughts that are not conceptualized as being received from that hyper-rational Gigerian machine-world, not from the logical Borg bio-machine. On one side, the all-machine, on the other, magic, miracle, high love, supernatural; compassion, protection.   Frozen machine versus supernatural. 

What specifically, precisely, exactly is problem with fully conceptualizing timeless frozen block-universe determinism, such that it becomes absolutely frantically fatally urgent, a mad panic, last ditch, dire straits, creek without paddle, urgent to formulate a radical alternative worldmodel.

Religion is training for self-control seizure and release.

Why don't today's kids on entheogens report block-universe determinism and transcendence of it?  Because it is an advanced-level experience constructed by advanced hardcore investigators such as the inner circle of initiates that were the 1970s Heavy Rock lyricists.

Self-control seizure death-climax requires bringing together entheogens, loose cognition, sovereign king metaphor, hyper-rational self-control seizure, and frozen-future block-universe determinism.

The ego-death labyrinth is a structure floating fixed in the frozen spacetime block in the stream of mental constructs.  What exactly does this stream of mental constructs, the labyrinth convergence, battle, and slaying, consist of?  What is the full detailed characterization and dynamics of this frozen sequential construct? 

How does this battle proceed; what are the feelings, sensory experiences, and conceptual ideas involved?  This is a mechanical trap or gun mechanism; how exactly does it work?  This is the core and heart of ego death.  The labyrinth may be more clear and useful of a mental model, for quickly achieving ego death climax, than the whirlwind control vortex model.

To discover and encounter battle panic: set up your personal control power against the frozen block universe and thus pit your power against itself.  The tools you wield against the seizure become themselves the strength of the seizure; fighting against the loss of power causes the loss of power.  Backfiring; every move you could make logically plays into the problem, becomes the problem; the solution becomes the problem, the defense weapon becomes the incoming problem. 

The more powerful your control tools, the less powerful your control over them.  A noose, a stranglehold; your mental moves create a worse and worse problem until you work yourself into complete chaos and loss of ctrl.  Need to enter this state and report exactly how the seizure proceeds, how self-control wrestling oneself to say uncle plays out mechanically.

Phrases for Self-Control Seizure



Heroic grabbing of the fleece, pearl, treasure, fire

Self-control seizure realization

Thoughts that drive you mad

Wrestling oneself to the ground

Hanging of self-control

System hang and external reboot

Trembling humble transcendent prayer for miraculous impossible rescue from outside the entire system

Control-system crash

Control-system instability seizure

Thoughts frozen already in spacetime that constitute control breakdown seizure

The child-devouring, king-overcoming Minotaur in the middle of the labyrinth

Killed by the time god

Historical discussion of polit. aspects of Xn origins

The distinction between political analysis and scholarship is a debatable distinction and possible false dichotomy.  It is a contested issue, of whether or not the political element is centrally crucial in recovering the true origins of Christianity and the early evolution of the meanings of the Jesus figure.  Good scholarship may determine that the origins of the Jesus figure precisely consisted of a large political element. 

The mystery cult based on the Jesus figure, especially around the Constantinian/Eusebian house-church takeover era, was exactly distinguished by its hallmark incorporation of socio-political themes.  Conservative-to-liberal scholars of early Christianity put all possible emphasis on spiritual reasons for the spread of Christianity; in contrast, liberal-to-radical scholars of early Christianity put much emphasis on socio-political reasons for the formative evolution of the Jesus figure. 

Conservatives: "The mysteries of Christian origins are to be explained by reference to impressive spiritual experiences." 

Radicals: "The mysteries of Christian origins are more naturally, straightforwardly, and plausibly explained in terms of socio-political maneuverings as the main influential critical factor."

One of the hottest areas of scholarly research and theorizing now about Christian origins is exactly the "large political element" -- the Context Group, including Malina and Horsley.

Christian origins were centrally a matter of a "large political element".  The historical Jesus was a product of essentially socio-political considerations and strategic maneuverings, in addition to the usual intense religious-experiencing dimension that was almost generically ubiquitous in that era.  The specifically religious-experiencing dimension is important to comprehend, but it cannot explain the distinctive dynamics of the Christian version of Hellenistic-era religion.

A certain kind of politically focused discussion, and similarly a certain kind of mysticism-focused discussion, is directly and centrally relevant for a purely historical analysis.  A purely historical discussion of the political aspects of Christian origins is needed for an adequate, coherent reconstruction.  Similarly, a purely historical discussion of the *mystical* aspects of Christian origins is needed for an adequate, coherent reconstruction. 

Docetism vs. denial of Jesus' historicity

The distinction between docetism and anti-historicism is a false dichotomy.  Docetism amounts to the same thing as denying that the historical Jesus existed but asserting that Christ is encountered directly by each person.  Docetism is merely worded by the historicizers in such a way that even the anti-historicist view is forced to play into, and support, the historicist view. 

The early historicists who fabricated, defined, and controlled the category of "docetism" said "Those who are against our view (Docetists) claim that Jesus existed and interacted with people per the gospel story -- thus supporting what we claim -- but merely held that his spirit wasn't down in the flesh, but remained up in the heavens."  It's a textual strategy of co-opting the opposition by re-framing their position using the terms one wants to reify and support. 

The strategy of defining docetism to maximally emphasize and retain the fleshly historical actions of Jesus completely distorts the essence of the alternative view to defuse it and deny that there is a real alternative to one's own view one is intent on propagating. 

The orthodox historicists' definition of Docetism was designed to draw all attention to subtleties about abstractions (the location of Jesus' spiritual being) and draw attention away from the actual contested point at hand: whether or not Jesus existed as an individual person possessing all authority and handing it on to Peter, the purported first head bishop, who stood for the self-appointed official bishops pulling the strings behind this strategy of positioning.

Numerous purported groups of heretics were similarly fabricated and defined by the heresy confabulators -- the self-appointed official bishops bent on forcibly coagulating and commandeering all possible religions, maximizing Jesus' authority and then exclusively assigning it to themselves.

Is Jesus' historicity the traditional view?

As an example of questionable circular assumptions and how a word or two often encapsulate and reflect an entire paradigm, even the labels we put on positions already are biased in favor of certain model of Christian origins: the Historical Jesus assumption is a component of the view that has often lately been called the "orthodox", "traditional", "normal" view.

But such labels for that view beg the question; *is* the assumption of Jesus' historicity, really and actually normal and traditional -- or is it actually a recent, historically abnormal, deviant tradition invented only in the Enlightenment era, around 1750? 

I refrain from granting the Historical Jesus assumption so much authority as to label as "traditional" -- further research is needed before such a label is warranted.  Is the literal historicity of Jesus really the traditional and normal view, across the history of Christianity?  I would only say "traditional" if qualified as: the historicity of Jesus is the traditional modern view.

Would-be daring 'revisionists' (another problematic label that's biased in favor of the currently familiar predominant view) constantly fall back to the doubtful strategy, a trap they fall into, of calling their explanation an alternative to "what's been held for two thousand years".  They think their position is strengthened by asserting that it is different than what's been held for two thousand years.  But actually in some ways they are weakening their position, by reifying and reiterating the idea and assertion than the view they fight has always had monolithically total predominance.

Is the received view a dragon, or a kitten?  Is Jesus' historicity a universally held view for two thousand years, as revisionists always portray it?  Or just a recent hiccup, a small and minor recent mistake and deviation from the actual tradition?  What *is* the actual tradition: Jesus' historicity, or not?  That is precisely the very question at issue, so we cannot simply unreflectingly label Jesus' historicity as "the traditional view".  We have to do the harder work of tracing the entire evolving history of the idea of Jesus' historicity, and of tracing the entire evolving history of the idea of Jesus' non-historicity, through 425 at least, as a start.

Of the book

Jesus: God, Man or Myth?  An Examination of the Evidence

Herbert Cutner



Reviewer Acharya S, author of the book The Christ Conspiracy, wrote (slightly paraphrased):

>>Provides a rare and much-needed summarization of the debate between mythicists and historicizers over the past few centuries. Contrary to popular belief, the idea that Jesus Christ is a mythical character is not new: in fact, the questioning and doubting of the gospel tale started at the beginning of the Christian era and has been continued by thousands, if not millions, since then.

>>The historicization and carnalization of the Christ character was fought by the Docetic Gnostics, and the disbelief was addressed by early orthodox Christians as well, including the writers of the canonical epistles of John. Indeed, 1 John 4 condemns as "antichrists" those "spirits" who do not confess that "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh," as does 2 John 7. Many, says 2 John, have contested the historicity of Jesus Christ, even by his day.

>>Establishes - or reestablishes - a number of the most important contentions and facts exposed by mythicists and other Bible critics.  Apologist assertions are simply wrong, as has been demonstrated repeatedly over the centuries by the ablest of scholars and scientists, many of whom were Christians.

>>Ends with a further discussion of the history of the debate between historicizers and mythicists, a very necessary and revealing synopsis. He details the arguments on both sides, including further responses to various claims by proponents and opponents as the controversy progressed over the decades and centuries. The arguments put forth today against the mythicist perspective are the same as those used in the past, even though they have been thoroughly addressed and refuted many times. Shows that the subject has been hotly contested. 

>>Mythicists today are considered oddities who seemingly pop up out of nowhere, a false impression.


http://www.egodeath.com/eysingadoesjesuslive.htm (translation/summary):

>>Not until the modern Enlightenment period of the 18th century did we start to consider and pursue the quest for a merely human Jesus. An outstanding human preacher replaced the former "son of God".  This lead to the modern-era phenomenon of the liberal Jesus cult: the veneration of the optimal human being, the perfect Rabbi, whose example is to be followed. Many scholars, such as Harnack, make the error of projecting this post-Enlightenment point of view into the ancient times.

>>Pre-Enlightenment Christianity was happy with a supernatural description of Jesus, as distilled from the New Testament and expressed undeniably in the 12 articles of confession, and the Nicean and Apostolic creeds.  With the Enlightenment, the supernatural Jesus was gradually replaced with a natural Jesus, leading to the liberal Jesus cult.  The picture of an outstanding Jewish rabbi, adapted for modern society, replaced the concept of the supernatural "son of God".  Thus modern liberal theologians like Harnack erroneously project post-Enlightenment consciousness back into ancient times.  The works of scholars such as Bolland, von Hartmann, Drews, and Kalthoff thoroughly refute the implicit assumptions on which Harnack bases his statements.  Only the prejudices of modern man support the liberal Jesus cult.


The issue of whether Jesus existed is of merely minor import, in the long run.  The project of disproving Jesus' existence is merely a small project within the modern era to correct a recent error that was only recently introduced, like disproving extreme Freudian psychology (sex as universal explanation for everything) or disproving late 19th-Century physics, or disproving the early 20th-Century belief that heavier-than-air flight was impossible, or the recent defense in Consciousness Studies arguing, against 1950s psychological hyper-instrumentalism, that conscious experiencing exists.

Today's disproof of Jesus' historicity is largely just a modern-era correction of a fleeting and transient, and ridiculous, modern-era mistake.  It's a localized correction, not a novel revelation.

The "circular argument" critique of dating scriptures

The "circular argument" critique is of doubtful utility.

I've never seen proponents of the Radical view of Christian origins label the components of the received view as constituting "circularity", but several times I've seen defenders of the received view (such as datings of texts) levy the characterization of "circularity" at the Radical view.  The concept of "circularity" is premised on a weak and dubious theory of argumentation and making a case for a model, so the concept of "circularity" itself needs examination and should, in the end, be discarded as worthless rhetoric that obscures more than shedding light on degrees of plausibility.

More profitable for judging one model of Christian origins as superior to another might be some sort of idea of "degree of circularity"; the better model of Christian origins would then be the model that has a lower degree of circularity.  By this measure, the "conventional" (recent and modern?) story of Christian origins has, in many spots, a high degree of circularity. 

The 'circularities of argumentation' accusation cuts in both directions.  'Circularity of argument' is not as useful of a criticism as people usually assume.  Circularity of argument characterizes the consistency quality within thinking in general.  In addition to considering isolated points, whole systems of interpretation have to be considered.  People emphasize too much, isolated bits of evidence, while ignoring the key matter of whole systems of how evidence-and-interpretation fit together.

We need to problematize the too-familiar notions of 'evidence', 'assumption', 'premise', 'argument', and 'conclusion'.  I'd include 'interpretation' as well, but it's already understood how problematic and variable interpretation is.

There is an unfair bias against the alternative view: when someone puts forth, in passing, an element of the alternative view, the charge of "unproved assumption based on circular argumentation" is trotted out.  But when someone puts forth, in passing, an element of the entrenched view, people see it as "established fact that would be hard to dismiss" -- when in actuality, it too is an unproved assumption based on circular argumentation.

Everyone already knows what the conventional received default unreflective entrenched view is, so when someone states one of the conventional facts from the handbooks of Christian origins, that fact is not recognized as an assumption that participates within a circular argument. 

The following is a general, high-level discussion of how debating the dating of Acts interlocks with many other debatable issues and cannot be treated only as an isolated item of debate.  Both sides of the debate about that particular point (dating of Acts), is necessarily bound to use what can be called "circular argument".  So the charge of circularity is hollow and scores points of limited value, if any. The other guy is always using a circular argument, because everyone is, including oneself.

It would be impractical to expect that every time an interpretation-based conclusion is stated, or not a "conclusion" but more accurately a systematically integrated  view and premise such as the lateness of Acts, one would have to prove that particular piece of the total alternative model.  The whole model needs to be judged, in addition to judging each incorporated alternative factoid or "conclusion" or "premise" or "assumption".

What are all the arguments and evidences for the view, "conclusion", or "premise" or "assumption" that Acts was composed late?  What are all the arguments and evidences for the overall alternative, Radical view of Christian origins, as a whole integrated system?  What are all the arguments and evidences for each other "assumptions" or "interpretive" bits, which all fit together to constitute the whole integrated system of the alternate view? 

How does the premise of "lateness of Acts" coherently fit into the integrated alternative system, and how, in contrast, does the currently predominant premise of "earliness of Acts" fit into its respective host system: the official church history?  These big systems are where much of the important action is at even when it comes to "evidence".  "All data is theory-bound."  Much more ought to be done with bits of evidence than just judging them in isolation (while unconsciously doing the judging from within the default received paradigm of interpretation and "facts of evidence"). 

The attempt to have a hardheaded, sober "bottom-up" model of Christian origins built on isolated bits of evidence judged in isolation ends up being blind and reinforcing the default received view, without serious attention paid to the big-system considerations.  People talk up the importance of evidence but too little recognize that one powerful kind of evidence is coherence with adjacent alternately interpreted evidences. 

Pieces of evidence come in large sets.  Interpretations come in large sets.  Assumptions and conclusions, likewise.  It is impossible and meaningless to talk of judging and debating the "earliness of Acts" as an isolated piece of evidence.

When there is one entrenched systematic model and an upstart, the upstart model is unconsciously expected to accept the entrenched view's interpretations of surrounding evidential bits, while varying one individual point in isolation.  Mutual systemic coherence of multiple alternatively interpreted bits of evidence, has been underappreciated as a kind of evidence. 

The supposedly bold and daring authors vary only this and that bit, while leaving the rest of the received system in place.  That doesn't cohere.  The only way to formulate a coherent wide-scoped alternative system is to be willing to shift all the assumptions, move the whole universe of assumptions/interpretations/conclusions/evidence.  Not that only 7 epistles of Paul are authentic, nor 4, nor 3, nor 2, and especially not 1, but none. 

Each so-called "assumption" is actually also a conclusion based on the whole entire model, while the whole model as a so-called "conclusion" is actually also an assumption.  This quality of models is why 1 theory-based fact equals the entire model, kit and kaboodle.  In reality, models are holistic, not only a matter of context-free judgments about isolated bits of evidence, or critique of isolated assumptions.

People claim that the model of Christian origins is a conclusion based on assumptions and evidence -- but actually, people utilize the entire model as an assumption upon which to base each bit of evidence: in practice, things are turned upside-down: what's usually called the "conclusion" (the whole model) is actually utilized as the assumption, and what's usually called the "assumption" is actually a conclusion.  For example, given the assumption of {the entire received story of Christian origins}, we may conclude that {Acts was early}. 

Given a certain integrated interpretation of each surrounding fact and bit of evidence, we may conclude that Acts was composed early, and then utilize "the earliness of Acts" as a foundational premise, or as a stage in a line of argument, to judge and support adjacent pieces of evidence.

Given a *different* integrated interpretation of each surrounding fact and bit of evidence, we may conclude that Acts was composed *late*, and then utilize "the *lateness* of Acts" as a foundational premise, or as a stage in a line of argument, to judge and support adjacent pieces of evidence.

Easy talk of 'evidence', 'assumptions', 'train of argument', and 'conclusions', as though these concepts were simple and unproblematic, is largely just rhetoric serving to protect the predominance of the received view.  "Following pieces of evidence to conclusions" is an oversimplistic conception of how views, or whole-system conclusions, are actually reached. 

I favor the more neutral and whole-systems language of "interpretive framework", "view", or "paradigm", over the language of "evidence", "train of argument", and "conclusion".  The latter depend on a contested, unrealistic, and limited model of science and knowledge.

Systemic interpretation plays a crucial role: holding whole sets of conventional assumptions in abeyance, while trying on a different systemic set of assumptions, is the only way for a systemic state shift, an all-components-at-once jump from one stable whole-system view to another, possibly more compelling, plausible, and likely, stable whole-system view.


The same mistakes of argument about Jesus' historicity are made repeatedly over the centuries.  To make headway when judging between the historicist explanation vs. the non-historicist explanation of Christian origins,  a moderate and reasonable amount of discussion is needed of the inherent circularity and the actual complexity of evidence->argument->conclusion.

It is fair, reasonable, and practical to state an alternative-paradigm statement in relative isolation, a kind of statement which one may arguably characterize either as a premise, an argument, a factoid, a conclusion, or evidence, or what I'm inclined toward: calling it something like a "view-component" or "paradigm-component"; that is how it functions.  Such statements are not intended as a "fact", but mainly are intended as an integrated component of a whole-system explanation. 

An isolated statement of a alternative paradigm-element such as "Acts was written late, around 150 CE" functions simultaneously as argument, assumption, axiom, and so on, so it actually functions as an integrated view-component.  To a significant extent, there is no beginning and end, no distinct "starting assumption", "evidence", "train of argument", and "conclusion" -- just the whole-system view or interpretive system.  I'm not against requesting substantiation of any particular point someone puts forward -- I'm just pointing out that it's a poor model of puzzle-solving if we were to always demand that each point be substantiated.

The making of these brief assertions is helpful and we should not think that they are worthless just because they are not always accompanied (each time) by a full project of substantiation.  The full project of substantiation largely exists as, and is embodied in, the collective set of integrated assertions.

I'm not much into unraveling the fine details of assigning particular dates; I focus on other kinds of considerations and leave that to others.  As a proponent of the Radical paradigm, without having investigated this particular issue, naturally it is easiest and most systemically consistent to suppose some late dating for Acts.  Maybe it was written around 1550, per the later Edwin Johnson. 

I'm examining the idea of "circular argument" at a general high level, because circularity of argument is particularly important in the project of reconstructing Christian origins and questioning Jesus' historicity.

I used 'the dating of Acts' as just one example to serve the discussion of 'circular argument'.  There are many other particular issues that could serve as examples or cases in point, but the critical big issue of "circular argument" itself warrants some reasonable amount of direct attention.

I want a fair playing ground in which all parties acknowledge that there is an aspect of circular argument inherent in the reconstruction of Christian origins, and inherent in thinking in general.  People sometimes think that they can easily score valid points against the opposed case by criticizing it as a circular argument, as though their own case were simply free from circularity.  I want to prevent that possibly worthless debate strategy. 

It is good to identify specifically where the circularities lie in any view of Christian origins, whether another's or one's own.  What's bad is to imply that one's own position on Christian origins has no circularities.

If you point out circularity in someone else's argument, to make it carry any real weight as a criticism/weakness (as an effective criteria for preferring one theory over another), you should probably at the same time say something about the circularity in your own argument and show how your view scores better with regard to circularity. 

If you stop at pointing out that someone else has circularity, this can be a cheap and illegitimate way of giving the appearance of having the superior case by implying your own argument has no circularity: drawing all attention to the opponent's circularity and away from one's own.

A statement in a posting, an assertion of the late dating of Acts shouldn't be taken as being put forward as a "starting fact".  I don't much believe in the whole notion of "starting facts", "train of argument", and "conclusion" -- that's too simplistic and linear of a picture of how one actually formulates and judges between two competing reconstructed models of Christian origins.  It is practical and convenient to talk of 'evidence->argument->conclusion'.  But the idea of "starting fact" risks implying an elementary-school, insufficiently sophisticated model of how scientific or knowledge discovery proceeds. 

The difficult problem of reconstructing Christian origins hasn't gotten far enough, and can't get far enough without using a more up-to-date, sophisticated appreciation of how competing theories can be effectively tested and selected between.  Sophisticated debaters between two or more theories of Christian origins need to openly identify their own argument's circularities, not just that of others. 

Also, debaters of drastically different theories of Christian origins need to be cautious about using too simplistic of a picture that "evidence" simply serves as input to a mechanism of "chain of argument" and then a "conclusion" pops out the other end.  Carelessness and lack of necessary sophistication about these issues have impeded progress in the debate: people ignore them to the detriment of making progress in the debate.

Such points about the inherent circularity and the actual complexity of evidence->argument->conclusion are interesting and centrally relevant to the overall debate at hand, the main debate being between official Church story (theory, model, reconstruction) of Christian origins, versus the no-Jesus story of Christian origins, which could be called the historicist explanation vs. the non-historicist explanation of Christian origins.


May 14, 2004

The docetism heresy

In a phrase lurks a paradigm: "The docetism heresy."

The conservative-to-liberal view:  People knew the Historical Jesus for over a century.  Then arose a novel view, a deviant heresy, that Jesus only appeared to exist, but he interacted with people using a phantasmal body, a projected virtual image, a hologram.  Fortunately, the guardians and protectors of the real Christian churches put down this new innovative deviation, preserving the knowledge of Jesus' historicity.

The liberal-to-radical view: Jesus began as a strictly spiritual entity encountered in the mystic state of consciousness, for over a century -- with such an encounter and experience of Jesus fully directly accessible to each person, specifically throughout the lower half of the social pyramid, without intermediary officials wielding priestcraft over them and doling out salvation on an installment plan.  Then arose a new, deviant, innovative, strategic doctrine on the part of some ruling-class top-down bishops, typically Rome-based. 

To prop up their intended exclusivity of authority and power to control and command the church in a way that was personally profitable to them as self-serving opportunist individuals, they invented the idea of there having been a historical Jesus, who exclusively possessed all authority, who then commanded Peter to possess and retain that ball of authority and pass it on, undivided, to the first top bishop, from him to the next top bishop, and so on. 

This exclusivity and totality of authority was strategically premised and founded on the implied premise of a single, all-authority-possessing, Historical Jesus.  To prop up this claim, these aspiring governing bishops invented the idea that all real Christians before them have always believed, as the completely predominant norm, in a Historical Jesus, who held and commanded all authority. 

These power-mongering bishops invented the idea that there was now a recent, small, bounded group of heretics who were minor deviants because of not embracing the supposedly standard view, the historicity of Jesus.

Assumptions in the Book The Jesus Mysteries

Some people say the Jesus Mysteries book makes many assumptions and is sensationalist, that the book:

·         Uses grab-bag comparisons.  (I wish for examples.)

·         Is short on hard evidence for some of the assertions.

·         Those comparisons and assertions are therefore not solidly reliable and fruitful supports for the conclusions.

·         Just provides a view.

·         Is not significantly more advanced in terms of historical scholarly basis than the gospels.

·         Was written to further a particular point of view regarding the nature of religion, mysticism, Christian origins, and the origin and meaning of the Jesus figure.

What aspects of the book are deliberately sensationalist?  Sensationalism may be a direct function of the predominant conceptions in a culture.  'Sensationalism' may amount simply to difference -- a statement that the book is different than the predominant model of Christian origins.  Freke & Gandy have a different writing and presentation style than Earl Doherty in The Jesus Puzzle, and are operating from within a different value system than Doherty with regard to mysticism and religion. 

An audience of mystics and Dutch Radical Critics would tend toward calling the book matter-of-fact; an audience of conservative-liberal Christian scholars would call the book 'sensationalist'; perhaps calling the book 'sensationalist' says more about the reviewer's mindset than the book itself.  The ancients would not think that the book The Jesus Mysteries is sensationalist.

What are the specific assumptions proposed by the book The Jesus Mysteries and possibly its sequel, Jesus and the Goddess?

I don't buy into the picture of "a conclusion that is based on starting assumptions".  That is merely one way to frame a paradigm, worldmodel, or reconstructed model, or explanatory framework.  To say we need to question and check their "assumptions" may be actually a call to judge the merits of the very fabric, skeleton, and flesh of their entire model -- not just isolated foundational "starting assumptions". 

Consider a conventional conservative-liberal handbook of Christian origins.  We could take a standpoint from which that book is seen as putting forth a large number of assumptions that carry one along with the logical inevitability of the conclusion.  We could call that book "deliberately sensational".  The conventional story of Jesus' liberal ethics and death for them is sensational.  The conventional story of Jesus' supernatural doings, extreme suffering, and arising from death is sensational. 

We really have one large, debatable set of assumptions that call for careful assessment, against a different large, debatable set of assumptions that call for careful assessment.  Which of the available sets of assumptions or views strike you as most plausible, likely, and probable?  How do you suppose the world really works, and worked?

I see Freke & Gandy as combining effectively a combination of deliberate top-down systems-visionary approach to reconstructing what happened, with a bottom-up concrete evidential approach or bottom-up "assumptions + evidence = conclusions" approach.  The conventional over-familiar received view has many hidden assumptions, and it too has a certain combination of top-down systemic assumptions, an assumed whole view, as well as deliberate attempt at bottom-up evidence to try to support that high-level view. 

I'm roughly picturing a materialistically grounded sort of "assumptions + evidence = conclusions" approach reaching up, with simultaneously (in the same researcher's thinking), a high level view with "assumptions + evidence = conclusions" reaching down to search out low-level evidence and high-level hook-up as well.  That is, the "starting assumptions" are both low-level -- looking for concrete evidence like inscriptions and buried texts -- and high-level -- general ideas about how the world really works, including the religious dimension. 

Scholars in fact have been doing historical research with certain low-level and high-level assumptions, that enabled them to fit into a worldmodel that the Jesus Mysteries book and discussion group has fundamentally and thoroughly called into question.  The same kinds of weaknesses of evidence in The Jesus Mysteries book are also the common norm in what passes for modern scholarly historical research that brought us the conventional predominant, possibly entirely wrong, model of Christian origins and the nature of Jesus. 

Raising the question of Jesus' historicity is first of all, a matter of contrasting paradigms.  Evidence is desirable, but evidence is also a project of searching, and searching for evidence is highly paradigm-dependent, and then interpreting the evidence thereby collected is also highly dependent on the interpretive framework. 

Freke & Gandy have pointed the way toward a different project of searching for historical evidence and a different way of interpreting the additional evidence once it is found, as well as re-conceiving the existing material as potential evidence to consider anew.


May 13, 2004

Jesus, Dionysus, Blood as Entheogenic Potion: Mushroom Wine

http://www.dhushara.com/book/diochris/dio1.htm -- Treading the Winepress: Yeshua and Dionysius

http://www.dhushara.com/book/diochris/dio2.htm -- Treading the Winepress: The Epiphany of Miraculous Dread

Shows relief of Persephone holding the mushroom.

>>The Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Greece also may have included the ingestion of fleshlike hallucinogenic mushrooms, perhaps Amanita, as part of a secret, drug-taking ritual. The mushroom being passed between Persephone and Demeter in the Eleusis fresco looks more like the 'liberty bell' - Psilocybe semilanceata. As Dionysus was also associated closely with both goddesses and specifically with Eleusis one can postulate a common ritual sacrament.

>>In his written dialogues Plato records that Socrates, who left no writings of his own, gave the name pharmakon (both "remedy" and "poison" in Greek) to writing. The metaphor concerns writing's pharmaceutical nature: it expands memory, yet breeds dependency on writing implements ...

Jesus in the Flesh

In what sense could the many people who did not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have "believed in a historical Jesus"?  This strains the definition and conception of "believing in a historical Jesus" far from any normal meaning of the idea of a "historical Jesus". 

What would you say if I said "I believe there existed a Historical Jesus, but he existed strictly and exclusively as a spiritual, nonmaterial being."  By today's established meaning of the words, you'd say that by definition I do not believe in a Historical Jesus.  Modern thought never defines "Historical Jesus" as meaning a strictly, exclusively spiritual, nonmaterial being.

If Revelation were not tacked onto the end of the New Testament, near the end of the New Testament would be the protesting against the teaching that Jesus didn't appear in the flesh, with the direct and clear implication that many people thought that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh.

http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=2+John+1%3A7 :  "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist."

There is the embedded statement:

Many ... do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh ...

Clarifying the embedded statement:

Many people do not think, believe, or teach that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

or equivalently:

Many people think, believe, and teach that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh.

2 John 1:7 -- "Many ... do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh ..."


There is another equivalent statement just a few pages earlier.

1 John 4:2-3 --

http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=1+john+4%3A2-3 -- "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."

Michael wrote:

>>2 John 1:7 --

>> http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=2+John+1%3A7 :  "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist."

The end of the Bible/NT, per book theme and length, is thus:

1 John -- Jesus did too come in the flesh.  NIV Study Bible p. 1910.  KJV red-letter page 289.

2 John -- Jesus did too come in the flesh.  NIV Study Bible p. 1914.  1/2 page long.  KJV red-letter page 291.

3 John -- be hospitable to the good travelling teachers.  1/2 page long.  KJV red-letter page 291.

Jude -- reject Gnostic libertinism.  1 page long.   KJV red-letter page 292.

Revelation.  The study intro to Revelation is page 1922 in NIV Study Bible.    KJV red-letter page 293.

The clearest statement that many don't believe Jesus came in the flesh is just one page-flip before Revelation in the KJV red-letter bible, and flipping back one more page shows another, almost as clear statement, against people that don't acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.  On both page-flips before Revelation, the point is made twice, as the central point of 2 John and as the, or at least a, strongly central statement of 1 John. 

The main point emphasized at the end of the New Testament, just prior to Revelation, is the condemnation of the position that Jesus did not come in the flesh: raising up the idea for consideration, and then casting it down.

And so we see that the JesusMysteries discussion group was prophecied in the Bible: "... every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus [has come in the flesh] is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming ..."  2 John 1:10-11 -- "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed ..."

How important is the doctrine of Jesus' coming in the flesh, according to the way the canon is structured?  The doctrine is equated with the term 'antichrist'.  Is that an important term, 'antichrist'?  Where did we hear about 'the antichrist' in the canon?  The title or epithet appears only in 1 John and 2 John, and in both books they specifically equate, define, and highlight 'antichrist' as 'asserting non-fleshly Jesus'.  The term 'antichrist' is defined in the canon to mean, perhaps most centrally, 'one who asserts that Jesus did not come in the flesh'.

#1 in Google's "antichrist revelation" search:

http://www.revelations.org.za/Antichrist.htm -- "The word Antichrist appears only four times in the entire Bible, in the 1st and 2nd Books of John" ... "few enlightened people in the world today would deny the fact that in history, there definitely was a Person, an Israelite, who was crucified in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago."

That provides a handy nutshell criteria for identifying Jesus when we take the Kirbian time-travel machine: "You'll know you've identified Jesus when you find an individual Israelite who was crucified in Jerusalem 2000 years ago."  But what do we do if we find 5 or 5000 candidates?  How do we judge and identify the most Jesus-like of all these crucified men?  Maybe it will be obvious, but maybe not -- what then?

Why does the Bible and New Testament, leading up to Revelation, put the central emphasis on Jesus' having come in the flesh?  Because doing so concentrated authority exclusively, in a way that could be handed off over the generations while retaining that exclusive control.

The ruling-class bishops were intent on gathering everyone under their control, and excluding all those who refuse, punitively.  Did they co-opt the Jewish religion and its scriptures because the orthodox church needed a claim to antiquity? 

The Old Testament as Christian Scripture

van den Bergh van Eysinga


Yes, but that explanation loses track of the priorities.  *Why* did the ruling-class bishops desire a claim to antiquity and its authority?  Because they had a strategy of exclusion combined with inclusiveness, like combining the conservative Jewish exclusivity together with liberal synagogue welcoming of everyone.

Along the general lines of Pagels' book The Gnostic Gospels, the strategic logic ran: absolutely insist on the historicity of Jesus, assign all authority to him, make him welcome potentially everyone, but make him punish and condemn all who reject him.  Then, next, portray that single lone Historical Jesus passing the ball of all-authority, exclusive authority, to Peter, then to the succession of "assigned" bishops: "We're just following Jesus' orders by exclusively retaining all authority to ourselves, passing it along intact as instructed."

If Jesus were not a single lone historical individual in the flesh, but instead is a general pattern of divine thinking that anyone could access, the bishops' monopoly franchise control would fail; they could no longer control and restrict and dole out increments of salvation and services in a way that was financially profitable to them.

It remains unclear whether the ruling-class bishops who engineered 1 John and 2 John were advocating what moderns mean by a "historical Jesus" -- but it is certain that they based their exclusive authority on being assigned it by a chain of bishops going back to a literal historical Peter and what we'd have to call a literal historical Jesus.  Eysinga claims the early Rome-based bishops didn't mean the doctrine of Jesus' fleshly existence to imply a literal historical Jesus. 

Does Jesus Live, or Has He Only Lived?

van den Bergh van Eysinga


The bishops treated Jesus' authority, and his giving it to Peter, as the basis for their own exclusive authority -- so even if, per Eysinga, their doctrine didn't intend a historical Jesus in the modern sense, their authority-claim's basis straightforwardly implied him into existence as a historical individual.


What does it mean for "Jesus having come in the flesh", such that "Jesus entered into the earthly human sphere"?  What does it mean to call such coming-in-the-flesh a "mythological transformation"?

o  The epiphany (arrival at the city) of a venerated ruler was a visitation of a savior in the flesh, bestowing concrete practical benefits along the lines of setting prisoners free.  Jesus' epiphany/arrival in the flesh would have been understood in such terms.  The political/military idea of the epiphany of the ruler was probably deliberately modeled after the experience of arrival of a mythic godman or divine principle during religious initiation in the mystic state of consciousness; cross-fertilization of mystic state phenomena and governing figures probably goes back to prehistory.

o  In the mystic state of consciousness, unity consciousness, a person often feels concretely, physically united with the world and with other initiates or mystics, and with a divine figure.  This would be an experience like a kind of fleshly conjoining of the mystic/initiate and the divine.

o  In multiple cultures, "divine" or "magical" venerated plants have had epithets like "god's flesh".  The grape is identified with Dionysus spiritually and bodily; wine has probably been called the "blood of Dionysus" -- I'll keep an eye out for such expression.

o  The Eucharist or Lord's Supper has always made the claim that it is Jesus' flesh, that Jesus is present in the flesh in the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is ground zero, the very center, of Christian liturgical practice, so this issue of it being Jesus' flesh is sufficiently relevant so that we should keep it in mind while asking whether a Historical Jesus existed in the flesh.


May 12, 2004

Crowley and Block-Universe Determinism

Erik Davis wrote:


>>I came across this very interesting chapter from Crowley's "Psychology of Hashish," which is not just about hashish but about some of the highest mystical states he himself achieved, including the experience that he associated with the great magickal goal of the "attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel."

>>I have given you the whole chapter [XVIII] on one state that seems to correspond in some startling ways with the realization of the block universe that you describe, and that I associate, as you do, with the Led Zeppelin IV lyric "To be a rock and not to roll."

>>The whole text is at: http://users.lycaeum.org/%7Esputnik/Ludlow/Texts/Rats/psych.html

Whether God Has Free Will

If the Fates control everything, even Zeus -- do the Fates have free will?  Are the Fates subject to the Fates?  They are gods and therefore exempt from such intrusive and impious questions.

Uru Guru wrote:


>>On the question about whether or not God has free will.  My question is pertinent and dangerous to the paradigm (expressed by Ramesh Balsekar) that all is consciousness only, all is god, and we are dream characters in God's dream.  If God has will and we do not, even after "waking up," than we are somehow separate from God.  (One doesn't find these sorts of contradictions in the teachings of Ramesh's guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, who never claims that God has will, but rather that god is awareness itself).

>>Your paradigm seems to hold that God is separate, and thus there is no conflict in saying that God has will and we do not.  As I understand it, you say that God can exert will because God is outside of the 4-dimensional universe.

>>Isn't it relevant that consciousness itself is considered an immaterial phenomenon?  There's a book by Colin McGinn, "The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World," that explains that we do not know how immaterial consciousness can interact with a material body.

>>The main conjecture: Consciousness itself exists outside of the 4-dimensional universe, but operates within it through the material body.  End of main conjecture.  Beyond that one can extrapolate that Eastern mystical assertions, such as that we are manifestations of god, are equivalent to consciousness being god working in individual (more-or-less) material bodies.

>>If this were the case, our experience of will as an ego would actually be the experience of God working through us.  However, it may be possible that a secondary consciousness evolves in connection with the associations of the physical body living in the world.  This secondary consciousness is the ego, and has some limited autonomy (it still exists outside the block universe).  The ego is like a bubble in the consciousness of God, cut off from the source like a twisted balloon.  The ego is deluded in its identification with one person only, but this is also natural enough.  Enlightenment would be the untwisting of the small segment of the balloon, or the unraveling of the ego.  Then, rather than the ego running the person (or God running the person through a semi-detatched agent), God does it directly.

Quasi-historical writing style of the Gospels

http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=Lk+1%3A1-4 --

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled [or, "been surely believed"] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.


The writer or redactor of this passage is pretending to be a single writer of Luke in a single compositional sitting, setting up and framing Luke as though it were written with a literalistic belief in its content as history.  This book is quasi-history, which is not a specific assertion: there are shades and developments of quasi-history, as different redactors and authors with different strategic motives adjust and insert different passages into Luke. 

We should assume the extreme patchwork coalescence model of these books, the opposite of the orthodox view that one writer sat down at one point in time in one location to write a coherent end-to-end composition and had a simple belief that these are literal reports of remarkable events that occurred in the mundane realm. 

It is risky to apply a straightforward or naive reading, mindset, and interpretive framework, to unreflectingly and uncritically equate the veneer of semblance of historical writing with the sincere literal belief that the author of the passage or the book was assembling historical reportage. 

The passage is likely and probably a semi-serious, semi-fictional stance of pretense, posing as though one is writing historical reportage and believing in it.  The passage may be read as sort of tongue-in-cheek; there is a strong strand of absurd humor in the early Christian writings, as befits a culture of mystic tall-tales, riddles, and double-meanings for the initiated.  There was an unshakeable inculcated tradition of leg-pulling; all these writings seem like a whimsical uncle telling edifying tall-tales to a nephew, with winking overtones for the initiated adults. 

There is a world of difference between writing in a historical style, which includes a stance of recounting events that happened -- that is what fiction is -- versus writing while sincerely believing in the literal truth of one's reported events. 

How do we know what the writer of Luke or of the introduction to Luke actually believed in his own mind?  This writer may very well and plausibly have believed that if he could use writings as strategic tools of manipulation, he could set up a financially profitable bishopric franchise, and coerce several women-led house-church congregations into joining his system with him as the officially appointed bishop exercising authority over them and taking care of managing their tithes.  We have every reason not to read this straight and literally.

Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?: An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination

Paul Veyne


Seems to show that even serious writings about history were written in a deeply ironic and ambiguous tone, always keeping the question afloat, "Is the writer serious?  Does he believe what he is writing and reporting?"  Raises the question of the goals and nature and spirit of ancient writing.  Straight reportage seems to be the rare exception.

The Golden Ass



Fantastic loads of tall-tale leg-pulling.  The events are accurately reported and recounted first-hand by the author himself.

I myself belong to a club of religious magicians with a venerable history starting with our founder.  Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled by our founder, and have been surely believed among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 

It is true that like our founder, we raise the dead, exorcise demons, calm sea storms that threaten shipwreck, turn water into wine, prophecy truly and fulfill prophecies, and enable the paralyzed to walk and leap about.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theo, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Did the writer of the above two paragraphs think that he was dealing with history?

Re-reading ancient culture as based on psilocybin wine

A problem with current scholarship is that there is so little difference in the conception of religion that is built into the Liberal scholars' Historical Jesus Big Bang model of Christian origin, and the late-modern Radical, atheist conception of religion with the Big Crunch model of Christian origin: from the standpoint of the theory of Tradition and Western Esotericism (Smith, Nasr), both views -- Liberal and Modern Radical -- are entirely un-religious, and completely unlike the mode of thinking of ancient or pre-modern culture. 

Acharya S in the book The Christ Conspiracy may agree with the ancient understanding: that Jesus didn't exist, and that the Bible is pseudo-historical fiction.  But her main alternative explanation, that Jesus meant the literal material sun, encapsulates all the worst of embarrassing, obsolete, awkward, and inept modern 19th- and early 20th-Century theories about religion and myth. 

Such materialist theories and conceptual models of what ancient religion was about would be seen as ludicrous and completely missing the point by the ancients themselves: they would laugh at the prospect of an entire culture of non-initiates, in which even the serious scholars of religion utterly fail to pick up on the mystic-state double-meanings, fail to even consider the possibility of such double-meanings.

The Radical and some of the Liberal scholarship has made some progress in reconstructing certain areas of antiquity and Christian origin and context, but both of these different-yet-similar models are unable to comprehend and grasp the mood and conceptual mode of antiquity.  Typical Liberal scholars and atheist Radical scholars both end up with some distortion of antiquity that hardly matches what it was like, a distortion as grotesque and off-base as the ancients trying to recount to their fellows the Internet or an electric guitar rig. 


Imagine one entire culture founded on the integrated use of alcohol throughout *its* social, political, military, literary, and religious culture (which is the case today as much as could be), confronting an entire culture founded on the integrated use instead of some divine madness-inducing mixture of wine instead (as reported by the ancients in sources), throughout *its* social, political, military, literary, and religious culture. 

And imagine that the first culture (ours) assumes that the ancients were such tee-totallers that -- as some Christian writers say -- they only drank wine because they had to, because the water was not safe to drink straight.  Then imagine how thoroughly the first culture would mis-read the other, based on that incorrect assumption.  The modern state of consciousness entirely misreads the ancient consciousness, based on incorrect starting assumptions about their mindset and mental state which deeply informed every aspect of their culture. 


The question may start as asking simply whether Jesus existed, yes or no, but that question opens into the entire paradigm-oriented question of our theory about not just Jesus, not just Christian origins, not just religion, but the entire culture of Hellenistic antiquity, including the nature of their sports, military, punishment, politics, literature, state religion, personal religion, poetry, socializing, meals, banqueting and burial clubs, funerals, and marriages. 

All these components normally fit together one way if one assumes a historical Jesus as founder of Christianity, and fit together a different way if one assumes no particular individual crucial historical Jesus as the causal beginning of Christianity.  This means that strengthening an alternative view of the big picture -- the nature of religion or culture in antiquity -- normally pulls toward an alternative view of Jesus' historicity as well.  The more we know about ancient culture, the harder it is to assume that Christianity was initially started by a historical Jesus.


May 11, 2004

The tiniest Historical Jesus kernel makes the huge difference between the opposite Big Bang versus Big Crunch models of Christian origin

I am not asking how the belief in Jesus' historical existence was necessary or actively involved in the early formation of the Jesus figure, but rather, I'm asking:

Assuming Jesus existed, how was Jesus' existence in itself (not the doctrine or belief in it) necessary or actively involved in the early formation of the Jesus figure?

We pretty much know how the doctrine of, or belief in, Jesus' existence participated actively in the process-of-formation of the Jesus figure.  What is less clear is how that doctrine or belief depends on his actual existence in itself.

Assuming Jesus existed, how did his existence itself participate actively in the process-of-formation of the Jesus figure?  How did his existence give rise to the belief in his existence and the doctrine of his existence?

In contrast, assuming Jesus didn't exist, how did the process-of-formation of the Jesus figure proceed?  How, despite Jesus' actual non-existence, did the rise of the belief in his existence, and doctrine of his existence, proceed?

I fear I will have to work out these paradigm-based equations to produce and describe the two contrasting formulations myself, formulations about the process-of-formation of the Jesus figure, if no one is up to distinguishing between the role of Jesus' existence in itself versus the role of the belief in Jesus' existence. 

To say that there was a minimal Jesus kernel under all the mythic accretions is, normally and in practice, to assert a certain mechanism that begins with "Jesus' existence caused X to occur; X was caused by Jesus' existence; had there not been Jesus' existence, X would not have occurred." 

What did Jesus' existence cause, toward the resulting formation of the belief in Jesus' existence, or toward the resulting formation of the Jesus figure?  What is the mechanical causal connection from Jesus actual existence in itself, to the resulting reaction events thereby produced, such as the belief in and doctrine of Jesus' existence in the flesh?

According to the main Jesus-existed or Jesus-kernel paradigm, Jesus' existence caused people in Jerusalem and Galilee to think about him and the meaning of his crucifixion and teachings.  That thinking then caused further accretions and development of the Jesus figure.  Christianity spread from Jerusalem eventually reaching Rome.

In contrast, according to the main Jesus-didn't-exist paradigm, or no-Jesus-kernel paradigm, the process-of-formation began with different initial causal factors.  People did not begin believing in Jesus' existence because people initially knew him; people began believing in Jesus' existence because certain various Jewish and Hellenistic ideas were current throughout the culture and broad Roman region, such as Alexandria.  Jesus' existence was not the cause of the belief in his existence; rather, the belief in his existence resulted in the virtual appearance of his having existed.

The tiniest assumption of a most diminutive Historical Jesus kernel normally totally affects the reconstructed model and story of how the ball initially got rolling.  How did belief in Jesus' existence first come about, in the first place, at the start?  If not from Jesus' existence itself, then from what? 

This is a question not about early Christian origins so much as the initial beginning of Christianity and of the Jesus figure.  This question of initial beginnings affects what date the religion started on, what sequence of events happened to get the ball rolling, and what inputs there were to the start of the religion, and what was the original nature of the religion. 

To maintain that a single, distinctively identifiable individual Jesus existed in some minimal, slight kernel form, is normally to adopt, unconsciously, an entire theory of mechanical cause and effect, and entire large-scale paradigm and theoretical explanation of how the Jesus figure initially was formed, and to adopt an entire mindset and interpretive theoretical framework and worldmodel about what the nature of Christianity was at the beginning, and how we are to conceive of the entire concept of "the beginning of Christianity". 

For example, was this "beginning" localized at a point in time (the year of Jesus' teaching, crucifixion, and Pentecost?) and localized geographically in Jerusalem, travelling in a vector pointing from there to Rome?  Or, was this "beginning" something that took place over centuries, with no particular individual years being the clear origin point, with no single location being the starting point?

Was the process-of-formation of the Jesus figure a Big Bang, set off by this individual man in a particular year at a particular place?  Or, was the process-of-formation of the Jesus figure a Big Crunch, with no single starting point, coming together gradually, from various regions and inputs all the way back to the beginning, attaining something approximating a single distinct individual historical figure only around 313 CE, so that when we move our gaze back through time, the Jesus figure diffuses into multiplicity, rather than converging into singularity?

In practice, by the normal ruts of thinking and the forces of consistency in thinking, idea-sets are grouped together: normally, to state that there was even a very minimal kernel Jesus, a modest assumption of seemingly of too little scope to make much difference in your model of Christian origin, is to fully buy into the Big Bang model of Christian origins: it all got started with Jesus' teaching and crucifixion in Jerusalem in 30 CE, and developed outward from there. 

Denying this seemingly tiny kernel, this apparently diminutive, seemingly infinitesimal bit of Jesus' historicity, normally and most easily fits into the anti-Big Bang giant model of Christian origin.  The smallest Jesus kernel will still be conceived of as the causal germ and therefore foundation for the entire Big Bang model of Christian origin, while the tiny act of negating that infinitesimal germ is normally and naturally thought of as the foundation for an entirely different, completely opposite model of Christian origin: the Big Crunch model.

A barely historical Jesus normally is used as the foundation for the entire massive theory of the Big Bang model of Christian origin.  In extreme contrast, a fully -- meaning strictly and exclusively -- mythic Jesus normally is used as the foundation for the entire massive theory of the Big Crunch model of Christian origin. 


May 8, 2004

The Gospels as quasi- or semi-historical-styled literature

The "historical" nature of a writing is largely a matter of degree.  The gospels were intended to be read as quasi-historical styled mystical and socio-political literary works, not as literal history.  What degree is this "quasi-" historical style?  The gospel writers did not intend to forge the semblance of a literally historical report of events that the reader was supposed to think literally happened. 

Most literature other than science fiction has some degree of quasi-historical character -- a degree from nearly none, to highly historical styled, as in docu-drama that strives to report individuals' actions historically accurately but also engagingly with a bit of poetic license.  A useful question then is, were the gospels intended as historically accurate reports of events, reports that were also styled dramatically? 

Certainly the gospels were styled as historical reports to some extent, but were they intended to be taken as literal reports of things that actually happened in the mundane realm?  Intending to present material in historical style is different than intending to present material as historical factual reports.  This particular distinction between historical styling and historical factual reports is central and crucial for reconstructing the process of formation of the Jesus figure. 

To ignore this distinction between semi-historical styling versus intended historical report of mundane events, would be to ignore the central issue at hand and to approach the writings with a preconceived assignment of them to a particular literary category. 

The uncritical assumption and preconception of the gospels as intended historical report of events in the mundane world, rather than semi-historical styled literature for purely mystic or socio-political purposes, is exactly the unconscious move that enables Conservative and Liberal scholars of Christian origins to assume, without argument, that there was a historical Jesus.

There is no more key question than, "Exactly what kind of writings are the gospels?" 

The gospels are largely a rewriting of, as a rebuttal and alternative to, the Ruler Cult nativity gospel about Caesar, the son of a god.  Caesar's rule was manifest in the mundane realm, so to compete in that department, some involvement in the mundane realm also had to be attributed to the Jesus figure.

Research page:


The gospels are somewhat but not wholly historical-styled (say 50%), and were not intended to be read as literal historical reports of events in the mundane world -- not even by the Catholic redactors, according to Eysinga's short book _Does Jesus Live?_

Does Jesus Live, or Has He Only Lived?  A Study of the Doctrine of Historicity

van den Bergh van Eysinga, 1930


The gospels expressed mystic themes comparable to Jewish and Hellenistic mystic religious experiencing in the Hellenistic era.  As a non-historical-styled example, per Ulansey, the tearing of the starry veil reminded the audience-of-the-day of astral ascent mysticism's goal of experiencing transcending the sphere of the fixed stars, representing cosmic determinism.


The Heavenly Veil Torn: Mark's Cosmic "Inclusio"

David Ulansey


The central quasi-historical styled event of the gospels, the death on the cross, also expressed familiar themes of the death of the mind's lower, initial self-concept as a governing control agent. 

That quasi-historical Cross event, understood and viewed mystically-mythically, was equivalent to and largely isomorphic with familiar expressions of mystic themes in Jewish and Hellenistic religion such as the sacrifice of one's first-born child to gain reconciliation with the transcendent divine, and the snatching down of the daughter Persephone to Hades' kingdom, while Demeter religiously mourned for her.

Even though the gospels were political-styled and somewhat historical-styled, they were also intended to convey and express mystic-mythic themes of sacrificing, in the mystic ecstatic state of consciousness, the lower, transient, misconceived self-concept in order for the higher self to manifest and become a divinely-appointed sovereign, ruling from the realm of the heavens, which was by definition the realm outside of and above the deterministic cosmos.

What's needed is studies that systematically cover and compare Ruler Cult, the mystery-religions, and the process of formation of the Jesus figure.  "Backgrounds" books have some of this, but lack commentary and discussion of the ramifications of the similarity of epithets of Jesus and Caesar.  The topic runs counter to the scholars' predominant attempt to derive all of Christianity from Jewish religion and treat Hellenistic culture as a separate, severed-off "background" and "context" into which Christianity was received after emerging from its purely 1st-Century-Jewish matrix.

The Religious Context of Early Christianity: A Guide to Graeco-Roman Religions

Hans-Josef Klauck


4. Divinised Human Beings: The Cult of Rulers and Emperors.  81-page section.

Backgrounds of Early Christianity (3rd ed.)

Everett Ferguson


6. Ruler Cult.  14-page section.

The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity

James Jeffers


Search online for 'emperor worship'.  p. 100 has such a subhead, and references appear to be sprinkled through to page 151.  Former slaves become freedmen could become upwardly mobile through the emperor cult - p. 233.

The gospels were, per the Context Group of scholars (Horsley, Malina), vehicles intended to support alternative socio-political philosophy.  This gave the gospels something in addition to the purely mystical-mythical mystery-religions had, by combining the political-styled aspect of some Jewish religious variants with purely mystic-mythic themes clearly represented in the mystery-religions. 

The gospels were more political-styled than historical-styled.  What kind of literature were the gospels?  The gospels were literature that expressed mystic and mythic themes in the form of socio-political and semi-historical styling. 

The Context group (Horsley, Malina) conceives of the gospels as essentially socio-political works that incorporated historical events that occurred in the mundane realm (the crucifixion of Jesus).  Rather, they were essentially mystic-initiation works, but were distinguished by their also serving to convey socio-political ideas providing an alternative to the Roman system of honor and patronage. 

The semi-historical styling of the gospels was in support of this socio-political sub-goal or co-goal, and was based on the precedent of Jewish quasi-historical religious allegorical scriptures and on Ruler Cult, which was worship of the epiphany of the divine beneficence manifest in the flesh, bestowing useful, practical benefits.

The Context Group is represented in this book list:

Christianity as political rebellion against "divine" Caesar --


Freewillism-assuming vs. Determinism-oriented religion

Lower-level religion (crude, popular, childish, pre-initiation religion) is freewillist.  Higher-level religion (mysticism, Gnosticism, mystery-religion) is determinist and centered around determinism, even if such religion often seeks to transcend the world, which is to say, transcend and escape determinism.

Hellenic Mythicist Karl Kerenyi Was Early Advocate of Entheogen Theory of Greek Myth and Mystery-Religion

Hermes: Guide of Souls

Karl Kerenyi


A preface in this book states that Karl Kerenyi was explicitly an early advocate (1940s?) of the theory that Greek myth and mystery-religion importantly involved visionary plants.  The more I read, I keep discovering more like a continuous thread of such postulate -- *not* a point-in-time original creation of the theory, such as the publication date of a book by Clark Heinrich (1995), John Allegro (1970), R. Gordon Wasson (1970), Robert Graves (1958), Manly Hall (1932), or the 19th Century French scholar cited by Manly Hall (~1850).  (Dates approx.)

Dan Merkur's Book on Gnosis Is Transitional toward His Entheogen Theory of Religion

There are several passages on psychoactives in this book, which lies in between Merkur's earlier, psychotherapy-premised books on religious experiencing and later, psychedelics-premised books on religion.  This shows Merkur on a clear trajectory.  The hypothesis is *so* plausible, the only flaw in the book is that it ought to take the hypothesis much further, not so lukewarm, inconsistent, and half-enthusiastic: it needs a shift from the minimal to the maximal entheogen theory of religion; the latter seems implicitly supported by his recent books on entheogens in Western mysticism.

Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions and Unions

Dan Merkur


Suny Series in Western Esoteric Traditions


Constantine's takeover of house-church Christianity

Ruling-class, Rome-based, top-down bishops took over and commandeered existing churches, and struggled with each other for power -- for church ownership as a franchise.

Gathering a list of specific examples and details from most books requires an operation of mental translation of statements from the Conservative paradigm to the Liberal or Radical paradigm of Christian origins.  I would have to look up and compile some evidence, names, and dates in any of the typical books on Christian origins.  Instead of examples, below are listed some chapters and books containing examples and evidence.  It is normally not a matter of simple evidence, but rather, evidence-with-interpretation; as in the Philosophy of Science, "All data is theory-dependent."

I've pieced the clear natural picture together from books on conflict over women's leadership in pre-Constantine, house-church Christianity.  Even conservative books freely report chaos and mayhem, battles for preeminence between bishops or coalitions.  Any handful of handbooks on Christian origins provides the same spread of indications.  This scenario is nearly a part of the orthodox story of Christian origins, provided that you read the story this way. 

The standard story in all the books is that early Christianity was house-church Christianity, and that with Constantine, Christianity became large-building Mass practice, and that there were massive battles for authority, with parties including gnostic groups, gnostic bishops, and Roman bishops; and that the post-Constantine bishops insisted that only the coordinated bishop-led Masses were legitimate. 

The official story tells of consolidation, under battle conditions, of what were originally independent Eucharistic meal gatherings in house churches.  It is only necessary to step slightly outside of this official story about the players and their motives, to perceive the more plausible and intelligible explanation of the players and their motives.

The "house-church takeover" story is usually not explicitly and straight-spokenly framed and portrayed as such.  With most books, this reading usually only comes out clearly after a mental translation, reading between the lines.  One must read the official histories as coded and distorted, mentally translating statements from the official, Conservative paradigm into statements that conform with the alternative or destination paradigm, such as the Liberal or Radical paradigm.


Early Christian Traditions

Rebecca Lyman


Handbook from the Liberal Episcopal church.  A fine relatively enlightened liberal telling of the story of Christian origins, with much focus on the conflict between independent variants against later top-down uniformity.  Literally about Constantine's conversion of Christianity; remarkably straight-talking, though remaining within a liberal committed framework.


The Gnostic Gospels

Elaine Pagels


or new hardcover reissue.

Likely relevant chapters:

"One God, One Bishop": The Politics of Monotheism

Whose Church Is the "True Church"?

Online search:   true church   from page 102 on.


The Jesus Mysteries

Freke & Gandy


Online search.

Relevant chapter: An Imitation Church.  Outline and summary:



The Myth of the Resurrection, and Other Essays

Joseph McCabe


The other essays are:

Did Jesus Ever Live?

How Christianity "Triumphed" -- relevant; cynical atheist expose of Constantine's conversion



Roland Bainton


Essay format; no subheadings in chapters.

Relevant chapters:

Ch. 3 - The Church in an Alien World

Ch. 4 - The Christian Roman Empire

For example:

Page 99: "Whichever contending party was victorious in the continuing Nicene controversy would banish the opposing bishops."  This implies that the non-bishops would be assigned a new bishop, amounting to a takeover.  The conventional Christian history books are up-front that there were battles with much at stake, in the material sense and not just spiritual theology.  Or, per the Radical paradigm, these are blatant indications that there was much at stake, actually materially rather than spiritually and theologically.

Page 59: "The organization of the early church was at the outset somewhat informal."

Page 68: "The spread of Gnosticism faced the still weakly organized Church with a grave crisis."  That expression 'weakly organized' hides an entire paradigm; compare the rejected alternative descriptor 'egalitarian'.  The maudlin expression 'grave crisis', like 'risk' and 'threat', also is the type of polemical verbiage, a loaded, biased, charged construct, that was wielded by the 'organized' (that is, the top-down orthodox) proto-Catholic church, which was the actual threat posing the actual grave crisis for the egalitarian house-churches.

Page 73: "Therefore, to discover the true tradition, one should turn to churches of apostolic foundation in which there had been an unbroken succession of appointed bishops.  Irenaeus pointed to the Church of Rome as the preeminent example, founded by the two martyred apostles, Peter and Paul, and presided over by a continuous succession of bishops, each of whom was known by name."

Page 74: "The formulation of Christian doctrines and the strengthening of Church organization had provided Christianity with necessary safeguards against such threats as Gnosticism had posed."  This common type of scholarly statement takes on a different meaning if one holds Gnosticism as the original version of Christianity, compared to the proto-orthodox bishop-controlled Church; instead of "The orthodox church kept the original Christianity pure from Gnostic distortions", the mentally translated statement is "The upstart orthodox church took over Christianity, which was originally Gnostic."


Church History in Plain Language (2nd ed.)

Bruce Shelley


Standard book about Christian history.

Sections 2-3:  The Age of Catholic Christianity, The Age of the Christian Roman Empire

Online search, online table of contents.


The Story of Christianity: Volume 1: The Early Church to the Reformation

Justo Gonzalez


Standard book about Christian history.

Table of contents is online.  Likely relevant chapters for researching the takeover/ co-optation/ forced consolidation:

Part 1: The Early Church

   Chapter 8: The Deposit of the Faith

   Chapter 11: Christian Life

Part 2: The Imperial Church

   Chapter 13: Constantine

   Chapter 14: Official Theology: Eusebius of Caesarea


Eucharist, Bishop, Church: The Unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop During the First Three Centuries

John Zizioulas


How an area of theology was developed specifically insisting that only the official bishop-led Eucharist was valid, and how it possessed all validity and exclusively contained all authority of liturgical practice.


Mary Magdalene, The First Apostle: The Struggle for Authority

Ann Brock


How the Mary Magdalene figure was consistently posed against the Peter figure throughout Christian writings; here read "Mary Magdalene" as "independent house-church Eucharistic meal gatherings" and "Peter" as "official top-down Christianity".  Part of feminist-scholarship contributions.


Michael Conley

St. Ignatius, the Insidious Pragmatism of the Episkopoi of Rome and the Rise of Christianity


Online articles.  How people were coerced to join the monolithic church organization.


From Symposium to Eucharist: The Banquet in the Early Christian World

Dennis Smith


Provides much-needed detail toward an adequate picture of what the vague terms 'banqueting' or 'reclining at table' actually referred to.  (Valuable even though it does not consider how 'mixed wine' was associated with a form of inebriation that involved primary religious experiencing.)

Online search, online table of contents (high-level only).


"An Ecstasy of Folly": Prophecy and Authority in Early Christianity

Laura Nasrallah


Polemics about religious experiencing for vying for authority: we are inspired by the Holy Spirit, you are drunken and raving intoxicated; we have authority and you don't.


Religious Experience in Earliest Christianity: A Missing Dimension in New Testament Study

Luke Johnson


Characterizes Christianity before Constantine's conversion of it.  For example, chapter 5, Meals Are Where the Magic Is, describes the importance of Eucharistic meal gatherings in the house-church era.


Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Bart Ehrman


Relevant: Part 3: Winners and Losers -- about the battles during the consolidation period, with emphasis on the strategic use of texts.

Online search, online table of contents.


The Religion of the Earliest Churches: Creating a Symbolic World

Gerd Theissen


Table of contents is online. 

Relevant for researching the takeover/ co-optation/ forced consolidation:

Part 5: The Crises and Consolidation of Primitive Christianity.  Chapter 12. Plurality and Unity in Primitive Christianity and the Origin of the Canon.

What difference would such a puny Historical Jesus kernel individual make?

The goal is to reconstruct the most-likely historical process-of-formation of the Jesus figure.  This involves analyzing what difference Jesus' existence would necessarily have made to the historical process-of-formation of the Jesus figure.

There were dozens of failed insurrectionists.  An account of the process-of-formation of the Jesus figure must specify whether the Jesus figure was importantly critically dependent on a single particular failed insurrectionist, or dependent on several with one being relatively outstanding in crucial importance, or dependent only on the generalize type of 'failed insurrectionists' fictionally (and mystically) personified as a single figure. 

(Every ego-agent undergoing advanced initiation is self-betrayed to become a failed insurrectionist.)

In practice, when people include or subtract the historical Jesus kernel, they typically adopt a different large-scale framework or paradigm as well: shifting to a whole different essential story and model of the process-of-formation of the canonical Jesus figure. 

Consider a generalized semi-radical scenario of Christian origins that doesn't involve a historical Jesus kernel.  From multiple variant versions of Jewish and Hellenistic religions, the Christian religions start taking shape and coalescing, then are pushed together into a canonical version later, with the main trajectory of origins from Alexandria to Rome to, much later, Jerusalem. 

Suppose this scenario includes elements that eventually form a mystically and politically purposed passion tale, a sequence of events that is not impossible for an individual to undergo.  Suppose this entire scenario is fully coherent and compellingly plausible with all motives and origins in place, from the context, with no involvement of a Historical Jesus kernel.

Now what if we keep that whole self-sufficient framework fixed and then add in a Historical Jesus kernel who actually underwent the main mystical- and political-shaped events of the Passion sequence -- without permitting the overall framework scenario to switch?  If we agree that the framework scenarios of Christian origins is fully sufficient without a historical Jesus kernel, then adding such a kernel would amount by definition to a double-explanation, with the historicity of the kernel Jesus serving no function, no purpose, no role. 

Yes, someone could possibly have actually underwent an identifiably unique apocalyptic preaching circuit, a last supper with his followers, betrayal that night, a trial, scourging, crucifixion -- by definition that is not impossible; it is forever possible that there was a kernel individual who was perfectly redundant with such possibly self-sufficient origins of the religion.  It is possible that there both was a historical Jesus kernel and Christian origins that had no dependence whatsoever on that historical Jesus kernel. 

How odd, though, to have a historical Jesus kernel that serves no purpose whatsoever, no function, no role.  If we accept that Christian origins are completely independent of the need for a historical kernel individual and that nonetheless such kernel existed, this amounts to a scenario in which Jesus existed but served no purpose because his life story was exactly the same whether he existed or not.

The 3 basic scenario types in this respect are:

o  The Necessary-Jesus paradigm: Christian origins were not self-sufficient; they were importantly dependent on the necessary existence of a historical Jesus.

o  The Redundant-Jesus paradigm: Christian origins were completely self-sufficient without any need for a historical Jesus, and nevertheless there was a historical Jesus in addition.

o  The No-Jesus paradigm: Christian origins were self-sufficient and there was not a Historical Jesus in addition.

Either Jesus existed in a way that Christian origins depended on, or Jesus was redundant, or Jesus didn't exist.

The most important question for sorting these possible scenarios is, did Christian origins depend in any way on a historical Jesus kernel -- on Jesus having actually existed?

If Christian origins depended on a historical Jesus kernel, this amounts to an origin scenario that is significantly different than the "self-sufficient origins" model.  Jesus performed an essential, necessary, and required role for Christian origins in that he __________ and that without him, there wouldn't have been __________.

If Christian origins didn't depend at all on a historical Jesus kernel, then either:

o  Jesus didn't exist.

o  He existed, but his existence was for all practical purposes completely redundant; the same Christianity would have formed with or without him.  Thus his existence accomplished nothing at all for Christian origins, and served strictly to _________.  Subtypes of this scenario:

   o  He was redundant for Christian origins, and yet he was nevertheless relevant in that __________. 

   o  He was irrelevant in all ways.

Could a historical Jesus have been relevant in any way at all, if Christian origins had absolutely no dependence on him?  If Christian origins did have a dependence on the historical Jesus, what exactly is this dependence?  The Redundant-Jesus paradigm splits into two subtypes:

o  The Redundant-yet-relevant-Jesus paradigm: Christian origins were completely self-sufficient without any need for a historical Jesus, and nevertheless there was a historical Jesus in addition; though his existence was irrelevant to Christian origins, such that Christian origins had absolutely no dependence on his existence, his existence was nevertheless relevant in that ____________.

o  The Redundant-and-pointless-Jesus paradigm: Christian origins were completely self-sufficient without any need for a historical Jesus, and nevertheless there was a historical Jesus in addition.  His existence was irrelevant to Christian origins, such that Christian origins had absolutely no dependence on his existence, his existence was completely irrelevant historically, amounting to just a pointless coincidence with certain Christian elements.

One position, attractively unclear as a conservative fallback position, could be that Jesus' historical existence was solely relevant spiritually, not historically.  Jesus was totally redundant and unnecessary for the history of formation of Christianity; his historicity was completely irrelevant and unneeded for the historical origins of Christianity because the same Christian origins scenario was to happen with or without him, and yet, spiritually it is important and relevant that Jesus actually existed.

This would likely amount to the position that if the historically redundant and pointless Jesus existed as an historical individual kernel, Christian spirituality has a solid foundation, but if such kernel individual didn't exist, Christian spirituality loses its foundation.  Such a dependence of the spiritual legitimacy of Christianity on the historicity of Jesus even in the face of the fully self-sufficient mythic/political origins of Christianity, may be an option that is characteristic strictly of a recent, modern version of Christianity, since around 1750.

So the biggest question raised by the whole 'kernel' idea is:

Is Christianity or Christian historical origins dependent on the existence of a historical kernel individual, and if so, what is the nature of this dependence: what would change if we subtracted that kernel; what would change historically?  Would nothing change historically, but subtracting that individual would strictly make some sort of spiritual difference?

Which of the presumed kernel-individual's attributes match the acts which were accumulated into the gospels?  Which of the kernel individual's attributes were used as inputs for the Gospel Jesus?  How were those attributes picked up and incorporated into the Jesus represented in the canon? 

How does the canonical Jesus figure depend on the existence of one, single, particular, identifiable, historical individual to provide thematic inputs, attributes as inputs?  How does it make any difference at all for the project of forming the canonical Jesus figure, that such an individual person, contributing a few attributes, existed? 

Thus the question of Jesus' existence inevitably becomes subsumed into the larger question of, how exactly did the Jesus figure form; what events and elements and situations were related in a necessary way?  How exactly was Jesus' existence influential in the formation of the canonical figure? 

If the canonical figure has zero dependence on any particular single man having literally undergone key themes of the Passion, the result is a historical Jesus who, as a distinct individual, serves absolutely no historical purpose at all, is utterly redundant historically, and is completely emptied of all historical importance and relevance.  A pointless, redundant, coincidental, superfluous historical Jesus, as far as historical origins and process-of-formation of the Jesus figure are concerned. 

Those who maintain the assumption that there was a historical Jesus need to either propose what function his existence served in the process-of-formation of the Jesus figure -- how was his individual existence important and necessary for the history-of-formation? -- or else, acknowledge that the existence of such an individual was historically totally redundant and played no important role, merely happening to coincide (more than any other historical person) with some themes of the eventual Jesus figure.

If there existed a single identifiable man who preached apocalypse, had a last supper with his followers, was betrayed, tried and crucified, what was the exact process-of-formation of the canon's Jesus figure?

If there did *not* exist a single identifiable man who preached apocalypse, had a last supper with his followers, was betrayed, tried and crucified, what was the exact process-of-formation of the canon's Jesus figure?

Spelling out the two opposed implied process-of-formation theories is the best way forward.  The issue of whether Jesus existed seems to imply two drastically opposed models of the process-of-formation of the canonical Jesus figure.  If Jesus existed, this implies a particular process-of-formation of the canonical Jesus; if Jesus didn't exist, this implies a significantly different process-of-formation of the canonical Jesus. 

Those who maintain that there is still the possibility of a historical Jesus need to specify how his existence mattered and made a difference, producing one process-of-formation rather than the process-of-formation which would have happened without his existence.

So, assuming that Jesus existed, how was Jesus' existence important and critical for the process-of-formation of the canonical Jesus? 


May 7, 2004

History of the theme 'King of the Jews'

My guiding light for seeking the mystic meaning in the canonical figure of Jesus and in canonical Christianity is the question:

What is the mythic-mystic meaning of the sign, "King of the Jews", together with the crucified king figure, with crown of thorns, purple robe, and scepter?  Followed by the ascension to heaven of this figure, to rule on a throne next to God's throne?

In my view, the only Jesus that really matters to predominant Christianity today is this canonical kingly figure.  Freke & Gandy and Pagels instead go running off after some gnostic figure, forgetting the king figure who is so central, overlooking that person and the meaning of that person.

Was this king-on-the-cross figure formed in what century, and enforced as the dominant figure in what century?  Did he exist from some time as a minor version, and later was escalated to the main version of the Jesus figure?  What about the cosmic-only cross -- was that first?  Was Jesus on the cosmic cross also figured as a king or emperor?  Did Mithraic themes play into this as inputs?

I'm confident about mythic-mystic meaning, and that there was a takeover of house-church synagogue Christianity by top-down Rome-based ruling-class bishops, but I can't fathom the timing of the developments in different threads, different variants of Christianities and Gnosticisms and Jewish variants, or, per J. Z. Smith, evolution within Hellenistic religion.  After reading a stack of books about Christian origins, I'm left with too much knowledge of 1st-Century Jerusalem, and too little of Athens and Rome. 

The Christianities that formed by 150 CE were still very different, hardly recognizable, only half-developed.  When did which themes clearly come into the main picture?  What would a snapshot of Christianities (and Jewish and Hellenistic religions) around 250 CE look like?  We need a less static picture of the dance of these three families of religions, and related variants, over centuries -- and no quantity of conventional scholarly books about "Christian origins" is delivering the goods.

For example, when were Hellenistic apocalypses formed and developed?  What is the history of the figure of the Jewish king on the cross in Jerusalem, in the flesh? 

John Abrowus replied:

>>About 40 BCE, the Parthians invaded and replaced Hyrcanus II with Antigonus as King of Judeah. But Herod gained the support of the Roman Senate.

>>According to Cassius Dio, _Roman History_ Book XLIX chapter 22 section 3-6, Antigonus was captured by Mark Antony (about 37 BCE) bound to a cross and flogged, and afterwards executed.

>>I believe this is the earliest historical reference to "the Jewish king on the cross in Jerusalem, in the flesh".


When did it become predominant and canonical?


May 6, 2004

Categories of mystic-state metaphor in religion; mythemes and metaphors

All of the following mythemes have been used to convey and describe metaphorically the phenomena of the intense mystic altered state.  For my existing writings on mystic-state metaphors in religion: http://www.google.com/search?q=metaphor&sitesearch=egodeath.com.  This list of categories is similar to my list of double-entendre categories in acid-inspired rock: http://www.egodeath.com/lyrictechniquesmysticstate.htm - section "key themes".  This list covers a wide myths, which are entheogen-based, -derived, -inspired, and -oriented.

labyrinth, narrowing choices, narrow place

loss of control, sun horses out of control, holding the reigns, steering the chariot, steering the ship, Centaurs losing control at the banquet, golem growing too much and going berserk, maenads

hypercosmic fire (Mithraism), heavenly fire, flames of purgatory

purgatory, oven, flames

twins: one falls, one is freed, one inherits, one is cursed

giant/growing, golem growing tall, titans pressing up into the heavens against the immortals

imperishability, incorruptibility, lastingness, permanence, non-transient, immortal

ascending, falling, re-ascending, cast down, lifted up, underworld, heavens, soaring, too high, half falls, half rises

gesture of up & down, animals taking away souls (lower psyche-mode) and angels carrying up souls (higher psyche-mode)

fastening: nailed to cross, fastened to wheel, chained to a rock, locked into a throne, caught up in a tree

dead, resurrected, raised from dead, raising the dead

king, slave, governor, ruler

apocalypse, trial, tribulation, cataclysm, trembling, end of the world, persevere to the end

transcendence: magic, supernatural, miracle

family relations: child, father, mother, daughter, family, brother, twins, last-born

puzzle, riddle, hide, reveal, veil, uncover

wrestling angel, battle, contest, army

prisoner exchange, rescue, ransom

elect, race, preexisting, foreordained, nation

end of time, eternity, preexisting, passing age, coming age

sacrificing the lower king

sacrificing the child-self

firstborn child, blessedness of the later born twin, blessedness of the 2nd king

up-down gesture w/ 1 hand, with two arms.

enabling the paralyzed to walk, healing the sick, making the blind see, making the mute speak

sea, river, wash, undulate, snake, bathe

storm, calm, sink

throw overboard, put down, cast out, chain down, exorcise, humiliate, mortify

prophecy, ecstasy, vision

mixed wine, last supper, Lord's Supper, sacred meal, feast, banquet, wedding banquet, ointment, anointing, Virgin Mary's milk

Virgin Mary's breast milk is entheogenic

This online book explores the artistic tradition of the breast-feeding salvation gesture of Virgin Mary.  Logically, according to the maximal entheogen theory of religion, this breast milk of the Queen of Heaven would mean visionary plants: the milk that brings regeneration, cancellation of moral culpability, purgation of ego-demon-delusion, and salvation.

The Pseudozygodactylous Gesture of the Lactating Goddess: Evolution and Migration

Thomas Kunesh


Countering the scholarly bias against Hellenistic input to Christian origins

J. Z. Smith wrote an expose on apologetics-motivated bias on the part of Protestant scholars of early Christianity, who did everything possible to deny any Hellenistic influence on Christianity, as a way of delegitimizing Catholicism.  This suggests why today's books about Christian origins and the formation of the Jesus figure normally emphasize the supposed purely Jewish origins of the earliest Christianities, while studiously ignoring obvious inputs for Christianity such as Ruler Cult/emperor worship, early as well as late Hellenistic myth, and mystery-religions. 

Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity

Jonathan Z. Smith



"... the 'mystery' cults and the ... Christian tradition have more in common with each other.  ... in the history of scholarship, ... precisely the opposite has been presumed to be the case.  The entire enterprise of comparison between the 'mystery' cults and early Christianities needs to be looked at again. ... The question is ... of ... interests.  ... the comparative venture ... has been ... an enterprise undertaken in bad faith.  The interests have rarely been cognitive, but rather almost always apologetic.  As such, no other purpose for comparison [such as, comprehension of themes in multiple religions] has been entertained but that of genealogy [insisting that Christianity was purely self-engendered and came purely from Jewish religion, emphatically not even one bit from Hellenistic culture].  ... utterly unseemly within the academy. ... This is exorcism or purgation [of Hellenism from Christian origins], not scholarship.  ... The Protestant hegemony over the enterprise of comparing the religions of Late Antiquity and early Christianities has been an affair of mythic conception and ritual practice from the outset.  It has not yet become an affair of the academy.  If this shift to the academy should occur, it will bring about a radical reformulation of the [usual] generative questions and [also, notably, ] a thorough reevaluation of the purposes of comparison."

The established, entrenched, heavily biased scholarly view against Hellenistic inputs to original Christianities also ignores the heavily Hellenized nature of much of the Jewish religion prior to Christian formation.  Such fervent avoidance and denial of Hellenistic inputs to original Christianities indicates which way we ought to look: "Pay no attention to that Hellenistic religious culture behind the curtain!"

In the field of studying the relation of Christian origins and Hellenism, Smith calls for a rich and detailed compare-and-contrast approach rather than the heretofore narrow exclusive focus that serves only to repeatedly insist that Christianity was purely self-engendered from Jewish roots with no Hellenistic input. 

To recover Christian origins and gain understanding of Hellenistic religion and myth, what may really be needed or considered is a 4-way comparison between Hellenistic religions, Christianities, Jewish religions, and some general theoretical model that is not committed to privileging any of those three from the start.

The goal of religion and definition of enlightenment

Dualism was important in Western religious history and gnostic history through later heresies.  Why hate "the world"?  Because in the advanced mystic state, it was conceived of as a deterministic prison controlling the person, and a system full of many undesirable things; prefer being a slave of a better, higher being.

Awareness expansion to god-awareness is a feeling that happens prior to discovering ego death; first the mind ascends to heaven or the sun, and then ego is found as an intruder in that realm, and falls.  So one reaches god-awareness without yet being purified; first one must battle all night with the angel, then cast Jonah overboard, so Satan falls from heaven and one sibling falls from the flying sheep, and the son's wax wings melt and he falls, and Jesus descends to Hades.

Awareness expansion in its early phase is also ego expansion, growth of the titan or golem or one-eyed giant.  The 'ultimate goal' has two meanings: the ultimate climactic challenge along the path to salvation/purification/enlightenment/nirvana is the challenge of betraying and casting out the demon of naive freewill personal sovereign agency, self-controllership.

The ultimate endpoint destination may be awareness-identification expansion, but specifically cleansed not only of narrow identification with the little self, but also, outright disavowal of the reality of the little self, which remains as mere illusion exposed, convenient convention, rather than as delusion.  So there are several goals or milestones along the way: initial awareness-identification expansion, then the battle of ego-control and casting out (exorcism), then the final goal of some kind of awareness-identification expansion.

Some debate is needed about immanent vs. transcendent religion; Ken Wilber in a recent issue of What Is Enlightenment, in an interview with Andrew Cohen, criticizes the New Age tendency to turn reductionist (and ordinary-state-of-consciousness) systems theory into a so-called religion.  If defining the final goal of religion as "awareness-identification with the whole", again there is a risk of immanent religion and reductionism, which perhaps may be surpassed by transcendent religion.

So in Plotinus or Valentinian fashion it might be best to picture concentric shells/goals so that one ends up with all that immanent systems-theory religion has to offer, all that expanded awareness-identification has to offer, and all that dualistic transcendent high religion (extra-deterministic, apophatic, and focused on the transcendent uncontrollable controller which has control over you and which you as control locus have no control over).

What is the use of identifying with the controller of all, when you as an intentional control center have zero control over that transcendent controller? 

I can claim to identify with the god who has power over the deterministic cosmos, but still, if I (as localized center of willing) have not the ability to even set my own thoughts in the near future, then identifying with the controller of my thoughts (the transcendent god) has no *practical* utility or demonstrability; it is a mere metaphysical way of thinking and my own will remains a subject, not a sovereign -- or, only a localized secondary sovereign. 

When Jesus ascends to heaven, he does not rule *as* god upon god's throne, but from a throne *beside* god's -- so the initiate becomes a ruling son of god, but god's power remains hidden and uncontrollable by the installed, chosen, ruling son.  The cybernetic control-relationship remains: the hypercosmic sun (control locus) remains primary, the cosmic sun (control locus) remains secondary even if it has been purified, saved, regenerated, and released from karmic cycles of rebirth.

"I am God", "God controls everything", yet still, "I don't control everything".  The word 'I' is shifty and ambiguous, overloaded.  Only an elusive hidden part of me is identified with God: not the localized-controller part of me.  The localized controller can give honor to the higher controller, but cannot control the higher controller; the only power I have over God is the power he gives me to honor him, to honor and acknowledge his full control over my every thought and movement of will. 

As localized controller, I remain a mere local puppet king.  I (as local controller) don't even control my own mind, thoughts, and movement of will.  So claiming identification with the controller of all is a hollow claim one cannot put into practical practice.  If you control all, then move that rock over there by your godly will.

Self-control seizure through adopting the mental worldmodel of timeless frozen block-universe determinism/no-free-will while in the loose-cognition state, is the central peak climax of religion, enlightenment, and salvation, even if it is not yet heaven and nirvana. Ego death is the door and gateway to heaven/nirvana/extinction.  Getting to the door is merely the intermediate goal, one may say -- but nevertheless it is the central method and peak climactic necessary condition and cause for entering heaven.

The world religions, in their full form, concur.  A divine drama and battle must occur as a peak climax, in order to reach the final goal, so there is good reason to frame the ego death battle as central, with the final goal as a mere denouement, the after-battle sacred marriage banquet.

This is where the theory of ego death fits into Wilber's framework: at the heart, which he hardly focuses on, compared to Watts.  Wilber's specialty is the whole path at a sketch level, while Watts, filled out by this systematic ego death theory, fills in the climactic heart of the path.

When you go to study Hellenistic-era myth-religion, Wilber instead directs you only to Plotinus: grossly incomplete; a cop-out from comprehending the meaning and nature of myth and gnosticism as metaphoric description of Wilber's weakest area, filling in the central ego death battle.

Freke & Gandy misportray gnosticism by defining it as awareness-identification with the whole.  Gnostics would consider that an intermediate phase, not yet encountered the fatal severe problem of personal controllership within the cosmos.  Theirs is an immanent version of Gnosticism. 

We must correctly understand what Gnosticism was in addition to awareness-identification with the whole: we'd have to consider whether this 'whole' means only the mere deterministic cosmos, or instead (dualistically) only that which transcends the cosmos, or, perhaps best per Plotinus and perhaps Valentinus, the 'whole' ought to mean empty/non-dual identification with *both* realms: inside and outside the deterministic cosmos, combining immanent and transcendent religion.


May 4, 2004

The no-free-will model as a mere tool to induce the desired peak state of self-control seizure

Is timeless frozen block universe determinism *true*?  That perhaps can't be said for certain.  What is more certain is that the mind contains the potential to undergo a particular kind of religious climax experience, a climax potential which is directly aided and triggered ergonomically and straightforwardly by adopting the belief and honing in on the feeling, and way of picturing, the relation of spacetime and personal controllership.

Certainly, mentally picturing the block universe as something that problematizes personal self-control power, triggers a transcendent seizure experience.  Historically, this seizure experience has been glorified and considered the highest goal -- highest, other than the one further experience, metaphorized as 'supernatural/magical/miraculous', involving the feeling of being lifted out from an intensely problematic state, from a dead-end which risks catastrophic loss of control.

It is a certain, repeatable fact that the mind contains this kind of potential for religious seizure and transcendent release.  And it is a fact that mentally adopting the no-free-will/block universe determinism model triggers such religious self-control seizure.  This does not prove that the block-universe determinism model is true or perfectly coherent.  But the block universe model is definitely highly coherent, and a concomitant of such a model is the severely, fatally problematic situation of self-control seizure: it is a dead end for egoic freewill agency's power.

This dead end, and subsequent leap out of the system to recover the sense of wielding control, can be considered and has been considered the ultimate, highest goal of the mind, of the human life.  This experience of block-universe seizure is not to be found in initiations 1-7 of the standard classic astral ascent mysticism system of initiation.

It is constructed as a found and realized, lurking potential -- a child-self devouring Minotaur in the experienced labyrinth of choosing-power -- only in the 8th initiation, when the golem or titan has grown up to the 8th level, the 8th initiation, the sphere of the fixed stars: the discovery and mental construction of the idea of block-universe determinism.  After that, in the 9th initiation or level, the mind has to construct the idea of being lifted helplessly up out from that fatally problematic dead-end situation it discovered and created as a potential inbuilt instability.


It is a certain fact that the mind contains a fatal flaw, a fatal instability, which can be considered a potential: the potential to suicide and hang the personal control-center.  How to reboot?  The personal control center is hung -- so it cannot do anything to reboot itself.  "If you are a sovereign agent as you say, then why can't you remove yourself from hanging on the space-time-control cross?"  Rebooting can only be initiated from outside the system of personal control agency's power.

This is a threatening potential and a goal.   The queen of heaven is the star of the sea: what is the most interesting and earth-shattering potential built into the mind?  The potential to discover the potential to construct self-control seizure and controllership-system self-hanging: this is the potential to experience an unsurpassed and arguably ultimate religious experience above all others: the potential to lose or vanish the sense of personal controllership.

So the threat is the most highly desired goal, giving up your controllership-life to gain first disappearance into the presumed apparent spacetime block, and then, upon recovery, being given life from an invisible and non-rational hidden source, The Good (Platonism) which freely and benevolently, compassionately restores the sense of controllership, now felt to be purified of delusion of kingly power.

The queen of heaven kills the kingly power, and then benevolently and compassionately gives new, changed power for a new, transcendent mode of personal kingship, which receives power from the hidden uncontrollable transcendent controller, a benevolent alien from beyond the spacetime block.


The clear experience of no-free-will and timeless frozen block universe determinism, and concomitant self-control seizure, is not reported by the majority of those who have been initiated to some extent.  The block-universe seizure experience takes awhile to be constructed by a mind; the shift from childish thinking to adult thinking doesn't happen in one session.  It requires some 7-10 guided sessions in a series, informed by esoteric training (such training must be 'traditional' not in surface form per Evola or Nasr, but rather, in its deep form).

In the late 20th Century, suppose only half of those who do a first initiation go on to initiation 2, and only half go on, etc.  At that rate, less than 1% of the level 1 initiates persevere through trials and tribulations to reach level 8, or session #8, in which the mind is able to construct and realize the potential to imagine block-universe determinism and interlink with that, self-control seizure.

For example, even though many trippers do have 8 sessions of pot and acid together, they have not been informed by traditional (in the deep-form sense) training to quickly and ergonomically spot the guiding "star of the sea" -- the self-control seizure vortex potential and the subsequent transcendent release potential.  Instead, the 99% of recent initiates who didn't reach level 8 and its level-specific constructed phenomena only report fragments that could later be assembled into the full experience in question.

For example, they report being controlled by aliens, or loss of control, or ineffability: preliminary component fragments, not yet the higher-level structure (Ken Wilber).  Sense of bodily fusion is a beginner-level or intermediate, not advance level 8.  The surveys and studies focus on the typical majority common characteristics -- the exceptional experiences include block-universe seizure, which leads to the need to awaken the divine sleeping potential to calm the self-control turbulence sea storm and avoid capsizing the entire boat.


Level 9 is the ascent done to the spirit by the transcendent, fast on the heels of the level 8, block-universe seizure experience.  Level 10 can be the sacred marriage level, matching the end of the book of Revelation: the psychedelic hallucinogenic entheogenic psychotomimetic marriage celebration.  Level 11 then would be the apophatic "dark goddess", transcendent hidden uncontrollable controller of the control agents, control agents who now are regenerated, their rebel angel component having been sent down to Hades' kingdom. 

Descent into the underworld Hades or Hell, with trials and tribulations there, prior to magical supernatural prayer and the other twin's divine ascension beyond the deterministic cosmos, is what happens in levels 8 and 9 to each initiate -- but happens only upon reaching that level. 

Thus among advanced trippers and mental-space explorers, the theme of no-free-will, block-universe determinism, self-control seizure, and then the trans-rational leap out of the system, is common and standard, typical of that level (per Ken Wilber's treatment of high-order, trans-egoic cognitive structures). 

Actually the sequence also is rising as a golem or titan, then being beaten down from heaven to hell (the rebel angels cast out and falling from heaven), then tribulation, mental regeneration, and divine prayer & honors given to the transcendent and conceding the fatal flaw built into egoic sovereign control power, then fully ascending to the heavens above cosmic determinism. 

Titans or fallen angels are cast down by the gods and chained in the underworld prison to be burned and punished for transgression or rebellion, and only secondarily is hell/tartarus/underworld fire a matter of punishing the souls of the damned, in the several myth-religions (Greek, Christian, Jewish, Babylonian):

Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition

Peter Kingsley


p. 210-211 -- direct page link

See also Bible review around Jan 2004, article on Jesus' decent to hell.  Before ascending to heaven, he went to hell, pulling up the elect from hell while himself ascending.  Also note: he stands on the X doors of hell: this mirrors the idea of divinity being outside cosmic determinism (celestial X on the sphere of fixed stars).

In standard astral ascent mysticism, above the level of the fixed stars (cosmic determinism) are several levels, such as 9 = transcendence of determinism, 10 = sacred marriage, 11 = invisible deity: you only see his throne, see *that* he rules, but he or Isis remains dark, a hidden controller.  You feel the strings being pulled, having changed from being a slave of the animalesque demon-delusion to now being a slave -- or beloved heir -- of God/Isis, defined as not subject to the Fates. 

As a regenerated sovereign, you feel the strings on you being pulled, but know nothing about the puller and can only acknowledge its power and prayerfully assume that it is compassionate: that is the only viable way to retain life as a viable, orderly functioning control agent.

No-free-will is reported frequently by expert level-8 explorers such as Neil Peart of Rush; Metallica (Cliff Burton?), Ozzy Osbourne's lyricist Bob Daisley, Iron Maiden (lyricist of Heaven Can Wait), or Robert Crumb (puppet trip panel).  Quite a lot of diverse typical experiences are reported for levels 1-7, which 99% of late 20th Century explorers were limited to. 

No-free-will is not one of them; it is a level-specific advanced construct specifically definitive of the 8th standard structured initiation in the structured classic entheogenic astral ascent initiation series.  Some things are hidden and then revealed, later; other things are hidden and then quickly revealed.  Visual distortion is revealed in an early initiation; no-free-will is revealed only in an advanced initiation; initiation actually is, in itself, a graded hierarchy, a graded ladder to heaven. 

After the revelation of no-free-will is discovered and constructed -- just as a child may discover sexual potential by halting degrees -- so is no-free-will first speculated, then slightly experienced (producing recoil, run for your life - not soon reported in the PR articles), then fully experienced, and only then when it's fully experienced does it become fully problematic, producing the need for a solution from outside the rational system: the divine transcendent leap (or "being leaped" or fished out and rescued from above the system, from outside the prison).


The lack of reports of no-free-will in the studies of psychedelics is partly due to not wanting to gather or report troublesome, terrifying, and controversial experiences: Walter Pankhe did not report that in the Good Friday experiment , there was an incident with one psilocybin subject leaving the building and climbing the stairs in another building to report the good news of peace to the dean of religion; he clutched the postal delivery items of another person. 

However, most likely is that neither the researcher collecting trip reports nor the trippers were of the perhaps 1% who attained to level 8, the first level at which block-universe seizure is constructed and realized as a lurking potential in the mind for religious climax and then release.


The men are free to run now

From labyrinths below

Enlightenment is centrally concerned with controllership, more than with awareness-identification with the whole

Freke & Gandy in the book _Jesus and the Goddess_ put the emphasis on the boringly usual spot, defining 'enlightenment' as: one changes from identifying with one's little awareness, to one now identifying with whole-system transcendent awareness.  That definition is overused and essentially incomplete.  A shift in awareness-identity amounts to less than a shift in *controllership* identity.  A shift in controllership identity is more earth shattering and deeply altering of the mental worldmodel than a mere shift in awareness-identity.

A shift in awareness identity is an earlier initiation stage, which is why such shift is more commonly reported than the no-free-will seizure-and-reset experience.  Wilber uses that same kind of terminology, wherein one shifts one's identification; one identified with this, now one identifies with that.  This language is common and limited.

A shift in controllership is more profound and transformative than a shift in awareness-identification, because the egoic mind is mainly and first of all, structured in the form of a control agent -- not in the form of generalized abstractly pure "awareness-identification".  During the series of initiations, fairly early the mind starts feeling and shifting its awareness-identification -- but the sense of personal control agency goes deeper still; ego is mainly personal control agency -- of which merely a supporting component is awareness-identification.

What does the mind project its egoic self-identification onto, mainly?  Ask an egoic mind what it is, and it will say first of all, "a control agent", not "a locus and boundary of awareness/identification".  If ego is considered as some particular awareness-identification, that identification is first of all centered, scoped, and grounded in personal controllership. 

Awareness is not the main cornerstone of ego -- it's just a supporting component;  personal controllership is the main cornerstone.  Enlightenment as a shift in controllership thinking builds upon and finalizes the earlier and less profound shift in awareness-identification.  In this sense, the two definitions of enlightenment are not opposed.  Freke & Gandy are correct in what they assert about enlightenment involving a shift in awareness, but they are not correct in stopping there. 

To bring enlightenment to full development, both a shift in awareness-identification and especially a shift in thinking about controllership are needed.  If egoic awareness-identification is generally deluded, the most specific key way that it is deluded is in identifying personal control agency as the basic reality of individual personal existence.


May 3, 2004

Gesture of Pointing Up and Down

Jesus' motion of pointing down and up means not that bad moral agents go to hell and good moral agents heaven.  That's the lower meaning.  To become perfect, egoic thinking must be repudiated down to Hades' and the transcendent (divine high miraculous magical supernatural) mental worldmodel must be adopted.  The two thieves around Jesus map to this.  Also twin idea, and twins around Mithras.



May 01, 2004

Added a couple paragraphs to start of mithraism.htm.

Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, star of the sea, protective mother

Virgin Mary, Queen of the Heavens as "star of the sea" is equivalent to the control vortex as it points transcendently/divinely upward out of the rational-determinism system of thinking.  'The sea' means visual distortion during the dissociative state of consciousness.  'Star' means ultimate and guiding light, alluding to the white-light experience in intense mystic-state meditation, which happens near experiencing determinism.  http://www.google.com/search?q=Virgin+Mary+Queen+of+the+Heaven+%22star+of+the+sea%22


Like Isis, the Queen of Heaven "protects" those who are predestined as her own.  This protection is specifically about protecting one's self-government during loose cognition during seeing the problematic nature of controlling the self-controller.

'Death' refers to an intense mystic altered-state experience, not to bodily death or an intellectual symbol

The common would-be superior view of supposed "esotericists" is "Death didn't mean literal death, it was just a symbol."  Actually, 'death' meant not literal death, nor symbol, but rather, an *experience* -- an actual, literal experience of death but not bodily death.  This really doesn't come across in the section Waking the Dead, in the book Jesus and the Goddess p. 127.

Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)