the Cynics, satirists and “mystics” (circuit V-VIII types) have told us over and over that “reason is a whore,” i.e., that the semantic circuit is notoriously vulnerable to manipulation by the older, more primitive circuits. However much the Rationalist may resent this, it is always true in the short run —that is, to use one of the Rationalist’s favorite words, it is always pragmatically true. Whoever can scare people enough (produce bio-survival anxiety) can sell them quickly on any verbal map that seems to give them relief, i.e., cure the anxiety. By frightening people with Hell and then offering them Salvation, the most ignorant or crooked individuals can “sell” a whole system of thought that cannot bear two minutes of rational analysis. And any domesticated primate alpha male, however cruel or crooked, can rally the primate tribe behind him by howling that a rival alpha male is about to lead his gang in an attack on this habitat. These two mammalian reflexes are known, respectively, as Religion and Patriotism. They work for domesticated primates, as for the wild primates, because they are Evolutionary Relative Successes. (So far.)
There is so much authority that comes out of the existing primary mystical experience that it can be threatening to existing hierarchal structures. – Rolland Griffiths this book can be an opening. Iris read it and said that it has had more of an impact than any other book that she is read in a long time. A really excellent read. For someone who experimented with psychedelics in my teens I was too young to realize and take advantage of the benefits. This book explores and reflects better than any that I have read about the consciousness raising possibilities of psychedelics. While they don’t represent a magic fix they can be part of a door opening and new and more comprehensive and holistic perceiving, envisioning and creativity. Pollan explores this with great expertise. At this late age of Sixty five I have the urge to indulge in some shrooms. Its never too late.
I am just finishing up this book. As the title suggests Timothy Leary discusses the process of “ego death” suggesting a link between the experience of ego loss in the use of psychedelics and the process illustrated in the “Tibetan Book of The Dead”. He quotes the German Lama Govinda and his interpretations on numerous occasions. He discusses this process as it relates to an expanded or evolution of consciousness.
I am currently reading this book. I think that he was ahead of his time, rebellious and insightful about causes of human suffering.
Ive lived a rather unusual life by many peoples standards. Im surprised that I made it out of my youthful years alive. When I look around me I see a similar insanity driving others that drove me and my fellow youth, although for many it seems to have become very much a more refined and unexamined version that sustains them in status quo. It doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to realize from the massive amounts of individuals taking medication for mental health issues and the incredible degree of addiction in our society that something is amiss. We seem to have such a great difficulty differentiating between life actions that are focused on gratification and those that bring joy and happiness. I was fortunate to have a rebellious nature that eventually turned into a sincere questioning ; however, not coming without its own risks and challenges that I am still negotiating.
Everybody has a personal cosmology (philosophy of life), but for the vast bulk of us, it is totally unconscious. It has been unconsciously acquired from family, school, media, churches, and so on, and when faced with any life situation, it is unconsciously accessed in a series of knee-jerk responses that may or may not serve us well. The greatest—in fact, the only—“ sin” in life is the decision to stay unconscious. Every conscious decision (whether it leads to worldly success or apparent failure) can assist our growth. But being unconscious is a guarantee of suffering. It takes moving from behind our habituated and sometimes neurotic ways and fragmented grasping of meaning. At times there may be a search for something other, while being without the willingness to look to the depths. Its difficult to see the whole when so much is buried and relegated to the darkness and all that we do see is bits and pieces shining up from the layers underneath