Psychedelics and Religious Experience

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jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 04:42 am
@Theaetetus,
No I guess not. It was a spur of the moment thing. Nevertheless, it is one of those things where from an 'outsiders' perspective, you can say, well what is the fuss about? But if you *have* one of those experiences under LSD where you really do see into the beginning and the end of all things, then it is unmistakably real and 'religious' in a distinctly non-conventional way.

Quote:
Why only those three psychedelics, jeepers?

They're the ones I know about and they are all linked in some way. Linked in their biochemistry and the kind of effect they have. Sure there are many other kinds of agents that I DON'T know about also. It is just that there is a convergence in the accounts of users of these three agents which indicates a certain commonality.

---------- Post added at 09:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:42 PM ----------

Incidentally I really think Dawkins ought to trip. I would love to see it.

---------- Post added at 09:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:42 PM ----------

He would then realise he has been talking about Santa Claus all along
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 08:58 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
Probably because you haven't had one!

A bit like a virgin saying 'I can't see what all this fuss is about sex:-)


Actually, no.

And nobody else I've personally known who has had these experiences has characterized them as "religious". Usually, "trippy", "amazing", "awesome", etc. Not religious.

If you want religion, try laying off the drugs and going to church. :rolleyes:
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 09:03 am
@Pangloss,
Pangloss wrote:
The ritualized use of psychedelic substances by traditional cultures is a much more sacred event than some college kids journeying out to the woods once a month for a "vision quest". It is ingrained into the lifestyle of the people, and it actually can be included within their "religion" as a legitimate religious practice (laws exist to this effect in the US, allowing native americans to use peyote).

Anyway, yea, i've heard drug users tell me before that they are going off on vision quests, etc., "just like the native americans", but it is anything but. The difference is that you have to be a member of that culture that includes the practice within their religion to understand any "religious" significance of the event.


The overwhelming euphoria, hilarity, and increased sense of camaraderie or social connection probably also had much to do with it...but it is interesting that modern/western psychedelic users are all seeking the "religious" or "spiritual", yet they share no fundamental beliefs or convictions like a religion, or like a traditional spiritual culture. The thing that links them in their "religion" is taking drugs.


Now you are judging other people based on people that you know, or from your experience. Spiritual experiences are very personal, and your perspectives cannot be used to judge other people's experiences. This is an example of a subjective fallacy where you are trying to impose the way you view things upon other people that do not share your perspectives and views upon things. Not to mention, you are also making sweeping generalizations of culture, spirituality, and religion.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 09:39 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
Now you are judging other people based on people that you know, or from your experience. Spiritual experiences are very personal, and your perspectives cannot be used to judge other people's experiences. This is an example of a subjective fallacy where you are trying to impose the way you view things upon other people that do not share your perspectives and views upon things. Not to mention, you are also making sweeping generalizations of culture, spirituality, and religion.


You don't see a difference between weekend drug users heading out to the woods and trained shamen in thousand year old cultures using the plant in a traditional, religious fashion?

There's no subjective fallacy there. A "religion" is an established institution. Some new-age type spirituality that necessitates drug use could be classified as cult-like, at best.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 12:36 pm
@Pangloss,
The difference between cultural shamanism/tribal medicinal use and current , for the lack of a better term, New Age chemical spirituality is an established method. A proven successful method completely contextualized in the culture. This is not to say that people cannot experience spiritualness without that method only that it is likely more difficult to experience the same level of transmentalism, and defenitely not the same kind of transmentalism.

Having been involved with tribal medicine people that practice both chemically altered and non chemically altered ritual spiritualism I find that after they have become "expert" in their specific method, they seem from answers to interview question to be on equal footing in what they experience. Chemical alteration seems to produce more vividness initially but eventually fade into the desired enlightenment form just as non chemical methods do. Myself I prefer the non-chemical methods, as I have ingraned Mormon from childhood, self control issues. But that is just me.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 04:09 pm
@Theaetetus,
Quote:
If you want religion, try laying off the drugs and going to church


Well my last experience was in the 1970's, so I have definitely 'laid off'. But 'religion' is definitely not something that 'only happens in church', that is a very circumscribed view of what the word means. (It has many meanings, and is in a lot of ways is a very unsatisfactory word, but is the word we have. Then again, maybe you are referring to Churchianity, which is most people's religion.)

Besides LSD is not a cheap thrill. It does not necessarily create easy-going, friendly feelings of hail-fellow-well-met and everyone slapping each other on the back. An hallicinogen is not an intoxicant - tripping is a completely different state to being stoned. It will amplify and project many hitherto unrealised aspects of your subconscious, or even unconscious, and it can be quite terrifying. (With one exception, this did not happen for me.) You don't, generally, fall around laughing like you do with alchohol or marijauna. In fact many recreational drug users would only try it once, and would never go back.

I am not a fan of Leary (though was in 1969). I took his Politics of Esctacy out of the library again in the 90's and it does not stand up well. His bio after the sixties did not betoken any kind of enlightenment. We was a rascal and a con. Contrast Albert Hoffman, the discoverer of LSD - died at the grand age of 102, only last year, a lucid and eloquent advocate until the very end. (Question: who knows what 'Bicycle Day' stands for?)

The dimension that has really changed since the sixties is the heavy social conditioning and opprobrium about 'drugs'. There are many taboos on it. Certainly I am not advocating or taking recreational drugs. But psychedlic agents are a different matter. They can show you that 'reality is a function of perception', and not as a matter of academic debate, either. The thing is - and hence the title 'Politics of Esctacy' - this is an immensively subversive and in many ways threatening to your sense of normalcy. And we don't like it. We like to be comfortable, nice warm cup of tea by the fire, good morning, how are you today, and so on. All well and good, up until the time it ends, or reality breaks through it. And, like it or not, many of the really brilliant people in history - geniuses and sages and the like - function outside this comfy little realm of normality with all its traps and conventions. Hence the well-worn route between LSD and Indian spirituality. And via this route, a whole new perspective is becoming available; even outside of church:bigsmile:
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 04:39 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss wrote:
You don't see a difference between weekend drug users heading out to the woods and trained shamen in thousand year old cultures using the plant in a traditional, religious fashion?

There's no subjective fallacy there. A "religion" is an established institution. Some new-age type spirituality that necessitates drug use could be classified as cult-like, at best.


Generally I do see a difference. Most people that I have known that took psychedelics out in the woods together are much like you depict them. I had a group of friends, though, about 8-10 years ago that had true spirituality at heart when we set off on the experiences. While we were not train shamans, we were not just a group of people setting off to have a typical trip. Sure, we probably did suffer from delusions of grandeur at the time, but we had rituals we followed, and we had many experiences that were shamanesque. We had moved beyond typical experimentation, and had very similar practices to those of tribal spiritual traditions. Sure you could have called us a cult, but it wouldn't have been much different that calling a tribe of natives a cult.
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 07:32 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;58377 wrote:
Yes, I just fail to see how these experiences are deemed to be "religious". Many have also used alcohol for spiritual reasons. As for psychedelics, most people use them to party or stare at visual hallucinations; they are not seeking god or enlightenment. They, like other drug users, are on a quest for pleasure and/or escape...


Well, I can tell you as someone who's drank, done heroin and pot and speed a lot of other drugs (though not for the last 35 years) that all drugs are not the same. Just applying the term "drug" or "mind altering" to something doesn't mean they have the same effect on a person's consciousness. Certainly you wouldn't say because antifreeze and water are both fluids they are the same would you?

Peyote, mushrooms and LSD are in a unique class in terms of the effect they have on consciousness. They seem to release one from the confines of the central nervous system into an expanded experience, and that in turn matches very closely what many religious mystics have described as their experience of the "kingdom of heaven," or "nirvana." It's the expanded, vast experience that primarily gets one thinking one has had a religious experience.

If you haven't experienced those particular drugs, you might as well speculate what it's like to die . . . in either case, nothing in the "normal" mental state comes close to matching the experience.

In terms of using psychedelics to party, you are correct that it happens (far more than not IMO) because being expanded is really a gas (unless it makes you paranoid, and then it's horrible). However, people do the same with all sorts of things. People have sex in churches, use religion to oppress, etc. Does that mean churches and religion are the blame, or is it people abusing opportunities for something better?

It isn't peyote et al that are the problem, it is the lack of sincerity and seriousness of some people when they approach the experience.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 07:34 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
Generally I do see a difference. Most people that I have known that took psychedelics out in the woods together are much like you depict them. I had a group of friends, though, about 8-10 years ago that had true spirituality at heart when we set off on the experiences.


I don't doubt that there are a minority of users who are like this...I have known some of them. Most though, are just getting high. Also, I will agree that you can have a "spiritual" experience using these substances, as you can have one doing many other activities as well. I just don't like to use the term "Religious experience", because that implies using the substances within the context of an established religious practice, which doesn't apply, unless you're a member of one of those traditional cultures that has used them in that manner for hundreds of years.

So, I basically just wanted to clarify terms, but I agree that they can be spiritual for anybody who uses them, if they have the right mindset.

LWSleeth wrote:

Peyote, mushrooms and LSD are in a unique class in terms of the effect they have on consciousness.

It isn't peyote et al that are the problem, it is the lack of sincerity and seriousness of some people when they approach the experience.


Yes, I understand these things. I am just cautious, first of all, of anyone claiming to have a "religious experience", whether it be drug-induced or as a result of something else. Also, the majority of people using these substances it seems are just getting high, so, yes, I am saying that they are the problem...those plants aren't forcing anyone to ingest them irresponsibly, they are just plants. :bigsmile:

Basically, there are a lot of excuses that people have to justify their habitual drug use...using psychedelics for "religion" or "spirituality", I think is genuine for some people, but for most, is another excuse to get high.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 08:39 pm
@Theaetetus,
Pangloss wrote:
Basically, there are a lot of excuses that people have to justify their habitual drug use...using psychedelics for "religion" or "spirituality", I think is genuine for some people, but for most, is another excuse to get high.
Indeed, it's much better to just accept you enjoy getting high without disguising it as a "spiritual experience" Wink
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 09:04 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Indeed, it's much better to just accept you enjoy getting high without disguising it as a "spiritual experience" Wink


Sure, at least it's honest! Smile
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 09:12 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;58557 wrote:
Basically, there are a lot of excuses that people have to justify their habitual drug use...using psychedelics for "religion" or "spirituality", I think is genuine for some people, but for most, is another excuse to get high.


Let me first say I agree that most people are just getting high. However, I also can't recall ever meeting any of those doing that who bother to try to excuse it by claiming they do it for "spiritual" reasons. Ask them and they will tell you outright they just want to have a good time.

I point this out because it seems you are, along with a couple of others posting here, ready to write off claims of sincere use as merely druggy self-deception. Personally, I have never heard anyone claim they were doing psychedelics for spiritual reasons who weren't.

But let me ask you an honest question. Do you have some stake in characterizing psychedelic drug use as deluded (such as, you hate or fear drug use)?

If someone were to ask me now if I could recommend my past favorite drug, peyote, I would say no. But that is because I can recommend a natural and better way now; but back when I did peyote I couldn't. Also, there is a danger in using psychedelics, and that is . . . once you are opened up with a drug, you can't stop it. So if it freaks you out to be so open, you are stuck with being hugely opened (compared to your normal state) until the drug is metabolized out of your system.

Let's be careful not to generalize too broadly because of what drug freaks do.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 10:02 pm
@LWSleeth,
LWSleeth wrote:
Let me first say I agree that most people are just getting high. However, I also can't recall ever meeting any of those doing that who bother to try to excuse it by claiming they do it for "spiritual" reasons. Ask them and they will tell you outright they just want to have a good time.

I point this out because it seems you are, along with a couple of others posting here, ready to write off claims of sincere use as merely druggy self-deception. Personally, I have never heard anyone claim they were doing psychedelics for spiritual reasons who weren't.


Well, it should be quite clear from my posts that I am not writing it off. I just am skeptical about most of these claims, because, yes, I do think a lot of drug users are deceiving themselves and don't know it. There's a reason that these substances are also called "hallucinogens", in that the mind is not operating normally. So, that right there makes me take what they say with a few grains of salt.

Quote:
But let me ask you an honest question. Do you have some stake in characterizing psychedelic drug use as deluded (such as, you hate or fear drug use)?


No. I generally think most people will be better off without using psychoactive drugs, but at the end of the day, people should be allowed to do what they want with their own minds and bodies, to the extent that it does not harm others.

I am mainly interested not so much in the drug use, but in these "spiritual experiences". I am wondering what the significance is when these experiences take place, and exactly what do they tell us? Many people who use these substances and have "spiritual experiences" come back from the trip and insist that they have found some type of cosmic or universal truth; this seems to be the very nature of this type of experience, the idea of discovering a hidden truth. Now how can we determine whether or not their experience is any more "true" than the normal conscious state? I am prone to believe the "truth" as corroborated by sober people, as they are not under the influence of a mind altering substance.

There are "spiritual experiences" that take place without the direct use of drugs, but they are few and far between, usually induced by some other sort of altered state, as a result of food or sleep deprivation. Anyway, it seems that we've agreed that psychedelics can trigger spiritual experiences, but that leads to questions about this experience itself.


Quote:
If someone were to ask me now if I could recommend my past favorite drug, peyote, I would say no. But that is because I can recommend a natural and better way now; but back when I did peyote I couldn't. Also, there is a danger in using psychedelics, and that is . . . once you are opened up with a drug, you can't stop it. So if it freaks you out to be so open, you are stuck with being hugely opened (compared to your normal state) until the drug is metabolized out of your system.
"The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a hell of heaven, a heaven of hell"...

That's Milton's Paradise Lost, but this same idea was later echoed in the essay on "Heaven and Hell" by Huxley, relating to psychedelic drug use. A psychedelic ("mind-manifesting") substance is incredibly powerful, and can more easily take you to heaven or hell than your chemically unaltered mind. For the people unfortunate enough to experience hell and not heaven, they might be better off never having tried the substances. Psychedelics can chew you up and spit you back out, leaving you scarred for life. When you leave the experience, you will be changed permanently, for better or worse, as you apparently know.

So, I would not recommend someone try it without giving serious consideration as to the consequences. If they are seeking truth, God, wisdom, or a spiritual experience, they can find it without taking psychedelics.
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 11:52 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;58570 wrote:
Well, it should be quite clear from my posts that I am not writing it off. I just am skeptical about most of these claims, because, yes, I do think a lot of drug users are deceiving themselves and don't know it. There's a reason that these substances are also called "hallucinogens", in that the mind is not operating normally. So, that right there makes me take what they say with a few grains of salt.


What is the basis of your skepticism? Everything you say sounds like you are rationalizing, not speaking from experience.

What drug users do you personally know who claim to be taking peyote, LSD, or mushrooms for spiritual reasons, and who you also suspect of being deluded? Aren't you generalizing from things you've heard rather than having interviewed people making such claims?

Let's not get into a disagreement over things neither of us believe (or disbelieve). I say, in my extensive experience I have not run into people who claim they do peyote, LSD, or mushrooms for spiritual reasons who didn't mean what they say. Why? Because partying drug users freely (even proudly) admit they are doing drugs for the hell of it. They are shameless!


Pangloss;58570 wrote:
No. I generally think most people will be better off without using psychoactive drugs, but at the end of the day, people should be allowed to do what they want with their own minds and bodies, to the extent that it does not harm others.


Agreed on all counts.


Pangloss;58570 wrote:
I am mainly interested not so much in the drug use, but in these "spiritual experiences". I am wondering what the significance is when these experiences take place, and exactly what do they tell us? Many people who use these substances and have "spiritual experiences" come back from the trip and insist that they have found some type of cosmic or universal truth; this seems to be the very nature of this type of experience, the idea of discovering a hidden truth. Now how can we determine whether or not their experience is any more "true" than the normal conscious state?


They may have found it, but if they need a drug to keep it, then they have a problem because of a small issue called death.

What can we take with us at death? Not our body, and certainly not some drug. So if we need a drug to realize a "spiritual experience," and we can't take that drug with us, then we enter into death without spiritual realization.

But what if we don't see the drug as something to be dependent upon, but simply as a tool to give us our first taste of what is possible, and a basis for faith in pursuing something deeper? That in fact was the approach of, say, Castaneda's mentor Don Juan.

Pangloss;58570 wrote:
I am prone to believe the "truth" as corroborated by sober people, as they are not under the influence of a mind altering substance.


Sober people murder, rape, embezzle, molest, steal, etc. Soberness doesn't guarantee anything. Yet I agree with you more than disagree. It's just that I know personally how enlightening peyote can be, as a giver of the first taste, when used with reverence and care. I would love to diss it for the sake of kids dangerously partying with it, but I just can't bring myself to do it because it wouldn't be an accurate characterization.


Pangloss;58570 wrote:
There are "spiritual experiences" that take place without the direct use of drugs, but they are few and far between, usually induced by some other sort of altered state, as a result of food or sleep deprivation. Anyway, it seems that we've agreed that psychedelics can trigger spiritual experiences, but that leads to questions about this experience itself.


Can you share what "spiritual experiences" you personally have had? Why do you speak of it as though you are extensively experienced? Are you?


Pangloss;58570 wrote:
A psychedelic ("mind-manifesting") substance is incredibly powerful, and can more easily take you to heaven or hell than your chemically unaltered mind. For the people unfortunate enough to experience hell and not heaven, they might be better off never having tried the substances. Psychedelics can chew you up and spit you back out, leaving you scarred for life. When you leave the experience, you will be changed permanently, for better or worse, as you apparently know.


How do you know any of this?


Pangloss;58570 wrote:
So, I would not recommend someone try it without giving serious consideration as to the consequences. If they are seeking truth, God, wisdom, or a spiritual experience, they can find it without taking psychedelics.


And you know this because . . . ???
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 17 Apr, 2009 01:59 am
@Theaetetus,
Quote:
Indeed, it's much better to just accept you enjoy getting high without disguising it as a "spiritual experience"


Well I have been high, and I have had spiritual experiences. They're different.

You need to admit the possibillity that you find this an affront because of your ideas of propriety and the perceived odium of drug use. That is really what is happening in a lot of this discussion. It has always been thus:

Quote:
"The idea of mystical experiences resulting from drug use is not readily accepted in Western societies"


as the article which started this thread says, and is perfectly true. I have no particular interest in trying to change anyone's mind, only that we 'see it like it is'.

I think the contributors to this discussion in the affirmative, have, and speak from, the benefit of experience; most of the detractors and sceptics are just expressing an opinion on the pros and cons of drug usage from a social policy viewpoint, or from conjecture, or on the basis of what they think is right and proper. Again, no argument from me; but see it like it is.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 17 Apr, 2009 07:32 am
@LWSleeth,
LWSleeth wrote:

What drug users do you personally know who claim to be taking peyote, LSD, or mushrooms for spiritual reasons, and who you also suspect of being deluded? Aren't you generalizing from things you've heard rather than having interviewed people making such claims?

Let's not get into a disagreement over things neither of us believe (or disbelieve). I say, in my extensive experience I have not run into people who claim they do peyote, LSD, or mushrooms for spiritual reasons who didn't mean what they say. Why? Because partying drug users freely (even proudly) admit they are doing drugs for the hell of it. They are shameless!


Like I said, they are using hallucinogens, and this experience might convince them that it is more of a "spiritual" experience than everyday reality; I do not think so. So, it is not that they are lying exactly, but they just have not examined what is going on with enough thought (before, during, and after said experience).


Quote:
What can we take with us at death? Not our body, and certainly not some drug. So if we need a drug to realize a "spiritual experience," and we can't take that drug with us, then we enter into death without spiritual realization.
Who's to say that the psychedelic experience is spiritual realization? Why do we need spiritual realization before death, if there is such a thing?

Anyway, it appears that a psychedelic trip is built-in to the death experience, as we know that the brain's stored DMT is released as death occurs...isn't that enough?

Quote:
But what if we don't see the drug as something to be dependent upon, but simply as a tool to give us our first taste of what is possible, and a basis for faith in pursuing something deeper? That in fact was the approach of, say, Castaneda's mentor Don Juan.
That's how you see it then. There are plenty of valuable insights that people can take away from a psychedelic experience. For many people, it is just another drug, and their experience does not cause any type of shift in their lifestyle. I'm just trying to point out that we shouldn't necessarily accept these "Spiritual experiences" as a given, even with their power that they carry at the time they occur, but we need to rationally analyze them after the fact as well. The only reason I'm not speaking about the positive aspects of psychedelics is because everyone else here has that covered...there are dangers to be aware of.

I read Castaneda also. You do realize that his writings are probably entirely fictional right?

Quote:
Sober people murder, rape, embezzle, molest, steal, etc. Soberness doesn't guarantee anything. Yet I agree with you more than disagree. It's just that I know personally how enlightening peyote can be, as a giver of the first taste, when used with reverence and care. I would love to diss it for the sake of kids dangerously partying with it, but I just can't bring myself to do it because it wouldn't be an accurate characterization.
I'm not dissing peyote. But people party with it and its derivative mescaline all the time. I think Huxley made a good attempt to explain his mescaline experience, rationally, and with all of the beauty and power necessary to explain the experience, without delving more into unfounded mystical claims, in his writing Doors of Perception.

Quote:
Can you share what "spiritual experiences" you personally have had? Why do you speak of it as though you are extensively experienced? Are you?
The whole topics of psychedelic substances, religion, and spirituality has been a great interest of mine for a while. I've read quite a bit on it, and I'd say I'm experienced enough to say what I have been saying, which has not been anything earth-shattering, that people using mind-altering substances might not actually be having "spiritual experiences", and that they could end up getting into trouble, legally, or psychologically.

You know the Hendrix song, "Are you experienced?"..."I am"... :bigsmile: I suppose all you need to gain creditability in this discussion, in your mind, is a weekend trip with a tryptamine? I should hope not. Because it seems like some of the supporters here fall into this category.


Quote:
How do you know any of this?

...

And you know this because . . . ???
What are you disputing, that psychedelics will permanently change a person? I think this is quite understood by most people familiar with the experience.

Further, we are of course working in the land of the subjective, because there is not some set form to a psychedelic experience; there are only people's individual experiences related to one another, which do share some certain aspects. Asking me "how do you know any of this?" is like asking Huxley how he knew what he did when he wrote "Heaven and Hell". I might ask you, "how do you know that your psychedelic experiences actually involved 'spiritual realization'?", and you won't be able to prove to me that they do. So, let's try to measure the merit of opinions here by the same yardstick. I never said I have any scientific or concrete answer here about all people and their drug experiences. I'm contributing my own view, like everyone else, which is based on much research in the area. It's my opinion; we can't really say anything about the psychedelic experience, or perhaps consciousness in general, with certainty. Philosophy has raised all sorts of issues with the philosophy of mind, and drug experiences fit within this realm. Psychedelics, thanks in part to their being highly illegal in most technologically-advanced/"civilized" countries, are still very much untapped by science. And "logical thought" as we know it when sober, can break down during the experience. So we have to consider it after the fact.



jeeprs wrote:
Well I have been high, and I have had spiritual experiences. They're different.


Congratulations! If you want a subjective fallacy, here it is...

Quote:
You need to admit the possibility that you find this an affront because of your ideas of propriety and the perceived odium of drug use. That is really what is happening in a lot of this discussion.
I don't think so. People are responsible for human problems, drugs are not. Drugs just sometimes have a way of bringing out the worst in people. More often than not, this occurs with alcohol, not any illegal drug.

Quote:
as the article which started this thread says, and is perfectly true. I have no particular interest in trying to change anyone's mind, only that we 'see it like it is'.
The original article, I have not even really responded to, because, while it makes some good points throughout, it is generally all over the place. Telling us that mystic experiences using drugs is unaccepted in Western society is like a statement of the blatantly obvious. We all know that's true. But then coming in here and chiming in with, "well I used mescaline back in '68 and merged with reality" or something is not telling us anything useful. This is what the "supporters" here have done, for the most part.

Quote:
I think the contributors to this discussion in the affirmative, have, and speak from, the benefit of experience; most of the detractors and sceptics are just expressing an opinion on the pros and cons of drug usage from a social policy viewpoint, or from conjecture, or on the basis of what they think is right and proper. Again, no argument from me; but see it like it is.
This is essentially an ad hominem argument, because you are looking at the personal life of the one making the argument, rather than the argument in itself. If you have "no argument", then why bother typing? To, again, point out the obvious? Everybody here is expressing opinions; it's a subjective topic, and we are here on an internet message board. There are going to be some opinions. If you want to take about "right and proper" in our society, there are many issues I'd bring up over drug use. Our economic system, foreign policy, etc., is not "right and proper". Throwing someone in prison for 20+ years for manufacturing or selling a drug to an adult is not "right and proper". Don't get me started on "right and proper"; when it comes to problems with society, drug use doesn't really make a dent, compared to everything else.
 
Vorapsak
 
Reply Fri 17 Apr, 2009 07:49 am
@Pangloss,
Pangloss wrote:


The whole topics of psychedelic substances, religion, and spirituality has been a great interest of mine for a while. I've read quite a bit on it, and I'd say I'm experienced enough to say what I have been saying, which has not been anything earth-shattering, that people using mind-altering substances might not actually be having "spiritual experiences", and that they could end up getting into trouble, legally, or psychologically.

You know the Hendrix song, "Are you experienced?"..."I am"... :bigsmile: I suppose all you need to gain creditability in this discussion, in your mind, is a weekend trip with a tryptamine? I should hope not. Because it seems like some of the supporters here fall into this category.


Have you experimented with psychedelics?
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 17 Apr, 2009 08:09 am
@Vorapsak,
Vorapsak wrote:
Have you experimented with psychedelics?


You read that entire post, and the best response you could come up with was "have you used psychedelics?" :sarcastic:

I think it's funny that the only way to gain any credibility in this thread is to speak of your own personal experiences with hallucinogenic substances. As if somebody who has schizophrenia is necessarily the best person to consult when looking for answers on schizophrenia... :bigsmile: Not to say that I'm an expert, but I have probably spent more time reading medical studies on these substances than most people, as well as experience reports, and have been with many different people on multiple occasions who were experiencing their trips.

If I had used psychedelic drugs, I would not admit to it anywhere in writing, because that would technically be admitting to a past criminal act. If you can't understand this, and just want me to say "I took acid/mushrooms/peyote back in x year, x amount of times", then I really couldn't care less about attempting to qualify my statements for you in this way. If you understand the problem that Western society has with drug use, then you would obviously understand my point.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Fri 17 Apr, 2009 08:13 am
@Theaetetus,
I think before this thread gets out of hand, we should probably go back to discussing the original post--the Alan Watts article (if it was even discussed in the first place). While I am also guilty of throwing some experience in the fold that is partially relevant to the topic, it probably should be saved for a different thread since this should be a discussion about the posted paper.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 17 Apr, 2009 08:20 am
@Theaetetus,
Note that my original questions have gone unanswered here; they were simply intended to get people to think a bit about what they were reading, not to spark a grand inquisition into my personal opinions/experience regarding psychedelics. :surrender:

Quote:

How do we define a spiritual experience? How do we know that drinking isn't just as spiritual as mushroom eating?


Nobody has yet to answer these two questions that I initially raised, aside from relating personal anecdotes about their own use of drugs or their own spiritual experiences. Those responses do not cut it, and I am still interested in actually coming up with some set rules for qualifying something as a "spiritual experience", and for associating at least the tryptamine derivatives (psilocybin and DMT), if not other psychedelic drugs, with this spiritual experience. :brickwall:
 
 

 
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