June of 1993
Archive film by Steve Teers of Diva Pictures
Terrence McKenna's opening pre-dance floor lecture @ Fraser Clarks Megatripolis.
June of 1993
Archive film by Steve Teers of Diva Pictures
Terrence McKenna's opening pre-dance floor lecture @ Fraser Clarks Megatripolis.
Brian Shields from KRON Channel 4 News covers the launch of the Leary Archive event interviewing Brewster Kahle, John Perry Barlow, Ralph Metzner, and Michael Horowitz.
A hallucinogenic compound found in psychoactive snuffs and sacramental teas used in native shamanic rituals in South America has helped elucidate the role of a receptor found throughout the nervous system. The sigma-1 receptor was known to bind many synthetic compounds, and it was originally mischaracterized as a receptor for opioid drugs. But its real role in the body remains unknown. However, Arnold E. Ruoho of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and colleagues have now solved one part of the mystery: They have discovered that the receptor's endogenous ligand is N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) (Science 2009, 323, 934).
DMT is not only found in hallucinogenic teas and snuffs but is also produced by enzymes in the body. It's been detected in human urine, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid; in the mammalian lung; and in rodent brains. At least in rodents, DMT levels rise in stressful conditions. Ruoho's group found that DMT inhibits voltage-gated sodium ion channel activity when it binds to sigma-1 receptors on cells.
11 February 2009
THEY called it the second summer of love. Twenty years ago, young people all over the world donned T-shirts emblazoned with smiley faces and danced all night, fueled by a molecule called MDMA. Most of these clubbers have since given up ecstasy and are sliding into middle age. The question is, has ecstasy given up on them?
Enough time has finally elapsed to start asking if ecstasy damages health in the long term. According to the biggest review ever undertaken, it causes slight memory difficulties and mild depression, but these rarely translate into problems in the real world. While smaller studies show that some individuals have bigger problems, including weakened immunity and larger memory deficits, so far, for most people, ecstasy seems to be nowhere near as harmful over time as you may have been led to believe.
The review was carried out by the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), an independent body that advises the UK government on drug policy. Its headline recommendation is that, based on its harmfulness to individuals and society, MDMA should be downgraded from a class A drug - on a par with heroin and cocaine - to class B, alongside cannabis.
Nobody is arguing that taking ecstasy is risk-free: its short-term effects are fairly uncontroversial. MDMA is toxic, though not powerfully so - an average person would need to take around 20 or 30 tablets to reach a lethal dose. And for a small fraction of people, even small amounts of ecstasy can kill. For example, around half a million people take ecstasy every year in England and Wales, and 30 die from the acute effects, mostly overheating or water intoxication.
What has been unclear, however, is whether ecstasy use causes long-term health problems and if so, how much you would need to take to be at risk.
In animal studies the drug has been shown to inflict lasting damage to the brain's serotonin system, which is involved in mood and cognition. Imaging studies have found signs of similar damage in human users, but there are debates over whether this is caused by ecstasy use and whether the damage has any real-life consequences.
The ACMD based their review largely on a study they commissioned from Gabriel Rogers and Ruth Garside of the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, UK. They pulled together all the research from around the world that attempted to assess the health of people who have taken ecstasy, and reanalysed the data from the 110 studies that dealt with long-term effects.
They found that compared with non-users, people who took even a small amount of ecstasy at some point consistently performed worse on psychometric tests, which measure mental performance, especially memory, attention, and executive function, which includes decision-making and planning.
The most pronounced effects are on memory, mainly verbal and working memory. While the ability to plan is somewhat affected, other aspects of executive function are not. Focused attention - the ability to zoom in quickly on a new task - suffers too, though sustained attention does not.
It is a similar story with depression. "There's a small but measurable effect," says Rogers.
These effects appear not just in current users but also in ex-users who haven't touched the drug for at least six months, suggesting that the problems are long-lasting. Strangely, there seems to be no link between the quantity taken and the severity of cognitive problems, suggesting that even a few doses can lead to these deficits.
Superficially, this adds up to a pretty depressing outlook for the e-generation, especially those who dabbled years ago but have since quit. Not so, says Rogers. Subtle differences in lab tests do not necessarily translate into real-life problems: "They're statistically significant, but whether they are clinically significant is another matter."
For example, there is little evidence that people are actually affected by the memory and attention deficits picked up in the lab tests. "They don't seem to be very big and it is not clear that they have much effect on day-to-day functioning," he says.
Meanwhile, people who have taken ecstasy are, on average, still within the normal bounds on standard depression tests. Although they score worse than people who haven't taken ecstasy, the scores aren't bad enough to warrant a diagnosis from a doctor. "There's no indication that they are drifting out of normal functioning," says Rogers.
He also warns that his results need to be taken with a pinch of salt because most studies are based on self-reports of ecstasy use, often combined with other drugs and alcohol, from people who have volunteered to take part. These confounding factors make it impossible to determine whether you have a representative sample of users, whether people's reported use correlates with how much they actually took and what effects can be blamed on MDMA.
Psychopharmacologist Val Curran of University College London says Roger's analysis "is about the best you can make of the overall mishmash". She agrees with his conclusion that on average there seems to be no evidence of any meaningful effects on daily life.
Others have a different take on it. Andrew Parrot of the University of Swansea, UK, who has been studying the health of ecstasy users since the mid-1990s says: "We see users who have taken bucket-loads and they have very severe problems." These include memory deficits, sleep disturbances, depression, weakened immunity and sexual dysfunction, he says.
Based on his own studies, he believes that almost everyone who has taken 20 tablets in total, or more, reports niggling problems in daily life. "All fairly minor on their own, but you're ending up with someone who is not as healthy as they ought to be," he says.
Rogers admits that because he took averages of such large numbers of users, his analysis may have "ironed out" some of the effects Parrot describes.
Parrot also calls ecstasy a "gateway" drug. "Former users are often heavy users of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. When you move off ecstasy, you look for other drugs. Ecstasy use leads to other, more problematic drugs."
Despite this, however, results from the first "prospective" studies are more encouraging. These studies follow a group of people over many years and watch the effects of ecstasy unfold over time. Crucially, they are more reliable than "retrospective" studies because they don't rely on people remembering what they did in the past.
In 2002 a group in the Netherlands recruited 188 young people who had never taken ecstasy but were likely to in the future. When they retested them on a battery of psychometric tests three years later, 58 said they had taken ecstasy at least once, giving the researchers an opportunity to compare cognitive performance before and after ecstasy.
They found that on all the tests except for verbal memory, ecstasy users performed just as well as before, and on a par with abstainers (Archives of General Psychiatry, vol 64, p 728). The results chime with Rogers's conclusions: because the effect was so small - a difference of a quarter of a word on average from a list of 15 - the real world implications are questionable. Brain imaging revealed no changes to the serotonin system, although there were signs of damage to white matter and blood vessels. The practical significance of this is not yet known (Brain, DOI: 10.1093/brain/awn255).
Rogers cautions that it is too soon to give ecstasy the all-clear in the long term, not least because some effects on health might simply kick in even later. "It's possible that ecstasy has horrific consequences later in life. Only time will tell."
The low-down on ecstasy
It is very exciting to see so much of Tim's archives finally becoming available for to the citizens of the online world to access. The fact that this archive even exists is a small miracle considering Tim's frequent moves and numerous arrests (40 on four continents), Dr. Leary managed to keep together practically all of his papers and recordings. It is good to know that it has been well preserved and that good people are working hard to digitize everything before the quality deteriorates or worse. A lesson learned from the tragic loss of the Terence McKenna archives.
I was incredibly disappointed how Dr. Leary's web site had disappeared from the net around 6 years ago (for reasons still not made very clear). At any rate the past is the past & what's important is that the archive has been progressively making its way online over a decade after Tim had passed away.
First were some great audio recordings by way of Bruce Damer & my friend Lorenzo via episodes of Psychedelic Salon podcasts. Lorenzo began sharing these talks about a year ago.
Around the same time, videos began appearing on the Internet Archive.
Next http://www.timothylearyarchives.org/ emerged onto the net and now seems to be running full speed.
Last but not least Leary.com changed from the single closed for renovation page (that appeared every time I was hoping to see it back online) to a unique full page video welcome screen. That so far I haven't been able to navigate past. I hope the sudden resurfacing of the archive is not only an only an attempt to sell it. But is a genuine effort to digitize and share the archive freely to anyone who seeks it as soon as possible.
Daniel Terdiman has written an excellent article on the Leary archive for CNET. Below is a small excerpt:
“Leary, as you probably know, was famous for his decades of experimental research into and promotion of the effects of hallucinogens, and over the years became as well known as many of the celebrity artists, writers, thinkers, and performers he hung out with.
Less well known, however, is that Leary, who died in 1996 of prostate cancer, became a serious techie in his later years. He put up a very early Web site, co-produced a late-’80s video game for Electronic Arts, worked on a series of the latest and greatest computers, and, it is said, updated his era-defining catchphrase for the digital age to reflect a newfound belief that computers were the LSD of the ’90s: “Turn on, boot up, and jack in.”
Today, addiction to technology is probably even more prevalent than devotion to drugs was in the ’60s, and most people probably can’t even imagine what the physical archives of someone like Leary would look like. After all, isn’t everything digitized and online these days?
On Thursday, however, I had the chance to spend some time with a small piece of Leary’s 400-carton-large archives–which is housed in a storage facility here–and I was in danger of getting seriously sucked in. In box after box, I found a true treasure trove of letters, photographs, posters and yes, computer equipment and discs.”
The entire article is available on CNET.
Last I heard, my friend Bruce Eisner was also planning on attending the celebration of Tim's life in San Francisco this past Sunday. I am looking forward to hearing about his visit. He has already made one post about the archive in his blog.
Michael Horowitz - also posted his annotated Bibliography of Timothy Leary.
HITLER and Mussolini both had the ability to bend millions of people to their fascist will. Now evidence from psychology and neurology is emerging to explain how tactics like organized marching and propaganda can work to exert mass mind control.
Scott Wiltermuth of Stanford University in California and colleagues have found that activities performed in unison, such as marching or dancing, increase loyalty to the group. "It makes us feel as though we're part of a larger entity, so we see the group's welfare as being as important as our own," he says.
Wiltermuth's team separated 96 people into four groups who performed these tasks together: listening to a song while silently mouthing the words, singing along, singing and dancing, or listening to different versions of the song so that they sang and danced out of sync. In a later game, when asked to decide whether to stick with the group or strive for personal gain, those in the non-synchronized group behaved less loyally than the rest (Psychological Science, vol 20, p 1).
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville thinks this research helps explain why fascist leaders, amongst others, use organized marching and chanting to whip crowds into a frenzy of devotion to their cause, though these tactics can be used just as well for peace, he stresses. Community dances and group singing can ease local tension, for example - a theory he plans to test experimentally (Journal of Legal Studies, DOI: 10.1086/529447).
Meanwhile, the powerful unifying effects of propaganda images are being explored by Charles Seger at Indiana University at Bloomington. His team primed students with pictures of their university - college sweatshirts or the buildings themselves - then asked how highly they scored on different emotions, such as pride or happiness. The primed students gave a strikingly similar emotional profile, in contrast with non-primed students (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2008.12.004).
Interest in the idea of a herd mentality has been renewed by work into mirror neurons - cells that fire when we perform an action or watch someone perform a similar action. It suggests that our brains are geared to mimic our peers. "We are set up for 'auto-copy'," says Haidt.
Neurological evidence seems to back this idea. Vasily Klucharev, at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, found that the brain releases more of the reward chemical dopamine when we fall in line with the group consensus (Neuron, vol 61, p 140). His team asked 24 women to rate more than 200 women for attractiveness. If a participant discovered their ratings did not tally with that of the others, they tended to readjust their scores. When a woman realized her differing opinion, fMRI scans revealed that her brain generated what the team dubbed an "error signal". This has a conditioning effect, says Klucharev: it's how we learn to follow the crowd.
In memory of our friend Fraser Clark. I am bumping Monkey's Trip back to the top of this blog for another listen & read.
Fraser Clark: Monkey's Trip, A Short History of the Human Species
REVERSING THE 'BIG LIE'
THE TRUE STORY OF Monkey's Marvelous Trip From The African Jungle To Inner & Outer Space
(Right click, save as and listen)
The genetically modified 'Society' in which we live has no Heart. No psychic centre. Indeed it actually encourages us to concentrate on looking out for ourselves. We, supposedly its citizens, share & feel no common Vision, nor does our 'Community' have any agreed overall Purpose. The signs of social breakdown are now so common we've begun to think they're natural. What we most lack is a Social Bonding that links us all together as equal, on some spiritual level.
This is written from what I believe is the longing in the secret heart of each of us for 'the Truth', and for the 'better life' which we sense could be, or which we remember from some distant past .
It's an attempt to present the True History of the Human Species. As opposed to the Big Lie in which we've been embedded - in a manner that satisfies Terence McKenna's nostrum that
"If the truth can be spoken so as to be understood, it WILL be believed!"
In order to avoid argumentation, I've concentrated on sketching the overall outline, the skeleton, while staying as clear as I can of details. if I even half succeed, then endless details will be filled in over the years to come.
To keep it short enough to stand as a simple Story, I have had to make some large jumps - these are somewhat covered by the numbered blue NOTES at the end.
The 'Evolutionary History' which we Human Apes have been taught about ourselves is actually the exact OPPOSITE of what really happened.
I call it The Big Lie, and it was originally imposed on us monkeys by a tiny sociopathic minority, never more than a couple of percent. understanding the truth about how we got to here as a species matters because it will define our potential future.
The Big Lie is EXACTLY opposite to the Truth for a reason .-the best way to keep us in utter ignorance is not to create any old Lie but to REVERSE the Truth. that way, if any contradictory information does sneak through, it sounds like utter nonsense. the 'opposite' of the truth!
That's the problem I face here.
Until very recently, almost no way existed of discovering (and NO WAY AT ALL of informing the population) that the Big Lies Reality Model was imposed (as we now know) with total contempt for most of the ape-human species, utter hypocrisy, and the most truly brutal slaughter and barbarous harassment of literally millions of people who believed in the OPPOSITE Model.
Though the Big Lie is largely discredited now thanks to our ever increasing knowledge, the ingrained, never-questioned attitude to Life which its embedded Reality Model has imposed in us (first on pain of death and still, today, by social derision and exclusion) is much deeper and harder to spot. it is established in our Society's upper echelons (who long ago forgot the True Story and merely concentrate on maintaining the superior social position the Big Lie has granted them) and it's established more deeply in our basic assumptions about Life and Reality than we even begin to realise.
If you doubt this, there's a test coming up which I still fail myself.
It all kicks in when we turn from the discredited Lie to discuss the True Story, The Demonised Story, The Devil.s Version. for remember, the perception that it's precisely the OPPOSITE of the truth has been meticulously and ruthlessly cultivated in our Cultural DNA, over generations. .The True Story Of Monkey.s Marvelous Trip From The African Jungle Into Inner & Outer Space. is going to sound utterly fantastic, impossibly idealistic, deeply irresponsible, worthy of being illegalised, burned at the stake, and so on and on.
For, despite the brave researches of many alternative thinkers over the last century, each excavating their own specialist areas [see Recommended Sources for most of what I.m about to say], this is the first time the True Story has been assembled as a single, simple Plot, understandable by all. and I pray:
"if the truth can be spoken so as to be understood, it WILL be believed."
What or who dunnit?
What triggered monkey's marvelous trip?
The primary challenge for all evolutionary theories is to explain what is far and away the most spectacularly dramatic leap-forward since the single-celled amoeba appeared on this planet.
Marine life moved to the land 350 million years ago.
It took 300 million years for Mammalians to appear.
It took 45 million years for Humanoids to split off from the basic chimpanzee line.
Modern humans emerged 1/3 million years ago. AND, IN THAT COSMIC SECOND, THEY'VE SWAPPED SWINGING IN THE AFRICAN JUNGLES FOR THE GLOBAL WEB, NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY AND OFF-PLANET TRAVEL!
Darwin's theory fits pretty well with the whole .upward. evolution from the single cell to the Great Apes. but when those monkeys stood up on their hind legs to form a new species, we entered a whole new Ball Game. we are talking of Cultural evolution now, not slow physical increments over generations and there is nothing in Darwin's theory that predicts such a continuous increase of complexity.
The emergence of modern humans from the higher primates with the enormous changes effected in brain size and behaviour. transpired in fewer than 3 million years. Physically, in the last 100,000 years, we have apparently changed very little. But the amazing proliferation of cultures, social institutions, and linguistic systems has come so quickly that modern evolutionary biologists can scarcely account for it.. Terence McKenna: Food of the Gods..
It's no wonder world religions have grown up to explain this miraculous. acceleration.
But let's be scientific and look a the simplest explanation. one that chimes with our own experience. Is there anything today which we know can change an individual totally, perhaps even in a single night?
And here the True Story begins. for, if we push aside our cultural conditioning, it.s obvious. Only two things can trigger behavioural modifications on the scale of ditching banana hustling for nanotechnology - religious conversion ... and drugs. and the greatest of these is ... religious transformation through drugs.
Although I concentrate here on one drug, because I think it was the first and remains the primary catalyst right up till today, other hallucinogenic alkaloids in plants were also clearly chemical factors in the protohuman diet that catalysed the emergence of human self-reflection.
A cultured species committed to continuous evolution
Chimpanzee traditions ebb and flow, from community to community, across the continent of Africa. On any day of the year, somewhere chimpanzees are fishing for termites with stems gently wiggled into curling holes, or squeezing a wad of chewed leaves to get a quarter cup of water from a narrow hole high up in a tree. Others are collecting ants by luring them onto a peeled wand, then swiping them into their mouths. These are all local traditions, ways of solving problems that have somehow been learned, caught on, spread, and been passed across generations.. Wrangham and Peterson: .Demonic Males..
A million years ago, with the african rainforest receding and the great grassy plains appearing, more and more apes were moving away from hanging round the old Tree of Knowledge, standing up on their own two feet, and experimenting with a whole new Life strategy.
The setting, then, for our True Story, was one of maximum individual transformation and cultural upheaval. among chimpanzees re-adapting to life on the tree-less Great Plains there was nothing but scope for individuals to seriously affect the whole species.
And, at precisely this point, our Ancestor encountered the Magic Mushroom. you can go to africa today, as i have done, and you.ll see that the primary activity of these apes, as they navigate the grasslands on foot, is nibbling at everything that looks interesting. it's inevitable, then, rather than far-fetched (as the Big Lie has programmed us to react), that our ancestors encountered the giant psilocybin mushroom which can stand 9 inches high. (pointing monkey to the stars?). i.ve seen monkeys jump down from the trees, scurry across to a magic mushroom, swipe its head off, and bolt back to the tree.
Ultimately in our Story, one or more experimentally minded, identity-exploring apes changed. radically. radically enough to create, over a (mere?) hundred thousand years, through .traditions which were learned, caught on, spread, and passed across generations,. a whole new cultural species.
The mushroom's first appearance is so perfectly timed as to suggest outside planning. here, just when individual ego is most in danger of being aroused by this new walking-on-your-own-back-legs away from the social enclosure of the tribe - bang!! - the old ego-dissolving / group-bonding psychedelic makes its Entrance.
In fact evolutionary researchers are discovering more and more that our ability to evolve was largely predicated on social bonding and caring, often via the females.
What actual changes do mushrooms bring about in us, and would have brought about in them?
The answer is much easier to find than we have been led to think. for, among the surprisingly few bits of bones, scraps of material, cannabis seeds in caves and scratchings on the walls, the only objective criteria we actually possess with which to pierce through, in an exact manner, to the lives of our ancient ancestors are the foods they ate& and the drugs they consumed. we KNOW (in a quite objective manner) how ancient shamanic peoples, or now, felt on magic mushrooms. and we KNOW what kind of lives were lived by communities who revered them. it is simply an objective fact, embodied chemically somehow in the mushroom, that peoples who gave them prominence in their lives were cooperatively inclined, non-militaristic, in tune with nature and so on. people who drank alcohol we know were usually quite au contraire.
As man emerged from his brutish past, there was a stage in the evolution of his awareness when the discovery of the mushroom (or was it a higher plant?) with miraculous properties was a revelation to him, a veritable detonator to his soul, arousing in him sentiments of awe and reverence, and gentleness and love, to the highest pitch of what mankind is capable, all those sentiments and virtues that mankind has ever since held as the highest attribute of his kind.. Gordon Wasson: The Road to Eleusis..
Regular (even one-off) mushroom ingestion must surely be linked to self-awareness, the development of higher conceptualising skills, a new sense of post-family, pre-urban community (the bonding that comes from tripping together), and spirituality (as in arousing the questions of who am i, what is all this, and what.s it for?). these are precisely the new skills which we know differentiated the later homo sapiens from previous great apes! everything our early evolved ancestors first unlocked in their minds and psyches represent the highest spiritual attainments that we speak of today.
and would certainly have triggered all the alternative .explanations. for our evolution offered by anthropologists as brainwashed as the rest of us monkeys - mastery of fire, discovery of the wheel, language, and eventually the shamanic need for the great .Agri-Cultures. which developed.
Other contending explanations, by the way, include bipedalism, binocular vision, the opposite thumb, the throwing arm.
What is the essential difference between the chimp and the human ape that became us? It is not the acquiring of some new trick like language or control of fire or agriculture. The difference is much bigger than that, and one that would increase the creative gaining of all the other tricks. Is it not our very spiritual sensitivity, our higher emotional states, our soul bonding beyond the mere call of duty? Beyond the demand of Nature? The beginning to emerge from Nature? Terence McKenna: Food of the Gods.
Certainly they would have quickly discovered the security problems around mushroom ingestion and formalised the taking of them. this was the original model for the .Initiations. which later dominated all pagan religions. powerful allies like these would have quickly been perceived as dangerous if taken at the wrong time. hence, possibly, the fear and tabus that later grew up around cult use of such plants.
New cults, new movements, tribes no longer necessarily connected by blood family but by some new kind of vision, visions of a new Reality Model. the first brotherhoods, or, more likely, sisterhoods for most early shamans appear to have been women and agriculture was certainly in their domain. we could very well be descended from a single mushroom-inspired individual Great Ape who founded a super-colony that became the first Agri-Culture, and then .town,. and which evolved at an evolutionary speed of light. or there could have been several, even many such cults, starting with small groups here and there, maybe the people of the marijuana, or of the amanita muscaria in the north, most certainly ibogaine, but gradually coalescing into a new culture, a new exploratory species which is utterly distinct from our tree-dwelling ancestors.
All of these developments over a hundred thousand year period, and their gradual coalescence into a new kind of human ape culture, constituted what we nowadays call Evolution. and this ongoing .holy. relationship with the magic mushroom (etc) is precisely what triggered, and maintained that evolution. all of us modern apes have evolved from a stage of life in a tribal culture that revered and participated in regular (full moon) ego-dissolving, GroupMind, shamanic sessions involving all members of the tribe. our very .longing. for .a better life. comes from there. psychedelics dissolve ego. tribes dedicated to a shamanic lifestyle from birth did not produce, or certainly did not over-emphasise, individual ego.
Let's not argue over definitions of individualism and collectivism, a healthy balance of which is clearly necessary. by GroupMind, I mean the experience of community/ identity with the whole species or community whose lack we atomised souls feel most deeply today. a healthy and evolving GroupMind (so distant from anything we experience today!) will encourage maximum Individuality, even if only in its own species. interest.
[see NOTE 2. Monkey.s First Trip/The Vision of the Future]
A new planetary awareness
founded in knowing it for ourselves!
Increasingly, modern evolutionary primatologists accept the notion that modern Homo Sapiens arose in Africa 100,000 years ago, and made a second great outward migration from there to people the entire planet. They became users of fire, tools and language and emerged 100,000 years ago as self-aware individuals.. Terence McKenna, .Food of the Gods..
over one to two hundred thousand years, around the planet as far as the aborigines in Australia, this .evolutionary culture. spread and became dominant (as in preferred). this is why, wherever we modern apes have explored in recent centuries, we.ve found such shaman-based cultures. this WAS the original (and only) evolutionary culture!
it seems clear that, though this .second great outward migration. of psychedelicised apes encountered several other .allies. (amanita muscaria, marijuana, iboga) and incorporated or rejected them, it was the shamanic society itself which became the rule. indeed it was Initiation into some regular natural drug combination ritual that caused the evolution of the individual while the ritual itself was enshrined as the central .bonding. feature of the tribe/cult.
These Mysteries have brought us from rustic savagery to a cultivated and refined civilisation. The rites of the Mysteries are called Initiations,. and in truth we have learned from them the first principles of life.. Cicero, Roman statesman.
Let us be as clear (though as un-detailed) as we can be about this Initiatory Society that became the new tribal norm. in its simplest and fullest form, such Shamanic Initiations involved the .convert. in consuming the ally in a correct set and setting. (Tim Leary).
the .setting,. the physical situation, is clear enough, as it is today for a psychedelic initiation: a .safe. environment where the hierophant is encouraged to let go of his usual defences.
obviously many variants of the .set. (.spiritual./psychological expectations) were refined as evolution deepened into its maximum variety of experimentation, many social models using different drug combinations evolved, but all involved .Dying. (to your old Self, the Personal Ego, your previous model of reality) and .Being Reborn. (into your Higher Self, new Reality Model etc).
it is absolutely critical to see the difference between these first, primeval .naturally healthy religions. (meaning shamanically effective) and the pathetically reduced fractals embodied in today.s de-natured churches. in EXACTLY CONTRAST to taking anything on faith, we Applicants for Evolution were required to Test it, and Know It For Ourselves!
an experience of Inner and Outer Space as much more Marvelous than hitherto suspected, and Unity of All Living Beings, these were the basic revelations. GroupMind (.All in this Together!.) and Social Bonding of the whole Community were the results. and we know that women shamans played a large part (caring, nurturing, letting down defences, protecting), and that the vast majority of societies that grew up around the central Initiation, were cooperative/ tribal matriarchies who practised Goddess worship.
One word on the origin of the Gods. how would our monkey have felt after his Initiation had worn off? how to express the difference in his daily behaviour? would he not look back on his shamanic level as like a different person?! another Being? either you.d become or actualised Someone Else (Higher Self?) or you.d been .possessed. by some Higher Entity? in the plant? this was most likely the origin of the Gods.
this new species, then, successfully evolved, prospered and multiplied. and, as human-ape communities grew in size, the .new. evolutionary imperative demanded experimentation with more and more complex forms of .community organisation. than the original .unanimous consensus. of the smaller tribe - shamans/ chiefs/ kings/ priests/ warrior castes/ temples/ emperors and church/monasteries struggled for dominance.
when, in some of these experimental social collectives, some apes turned away from the community bonding rituals, they began to, individually, devolve once more. but, either the new chimpanzee .trick. did not stick., or the competitive elites which were thrown up remained small. as long as spiritual initiation remained central to the community, general evolution continued.
Without the Sacred Mysteries life for the Greeks would be unlivable, for they hold the whole human race together.. Zosimos, Greek historian.
a common mistake of Big Lie indoctrinated historians is to interpret a society by its self-confessed .rulers., but any pre-Roman empire was more in the emperor.s eye than in reality, with little effect on the species. evolution. without today.s global-instant communications, a .royal. decision might never arrive in your valley! and the populations of what we now call .civilisations. probably never even heard of them in their whole lives!
the thread running through the period is this: as long as the bonding Initiation ritual remained at the heart of a community, even just in the local valley, people still governed themselves as all mammals have recently been proved to do: namely, the pack acquiesces with alpha males. decisions in very defined situations (access to females for example, or the highest hill in town) but, in all serious situations, works on a 51% GroupMind Decision (with the alpha male counting as just one vote).
The shaman is a humanist who is vitally interested in the archaic traditions of his people. He is also concerned with the social dynamics in the community and consequently often finds himself assuming the role of sacred politics, resolving social conflict. Shamanistic trance, frequently induced by powerful hallucinogens, demonstrates the divine origin of the rules regulating social relationships. This is the means whereby the shaman restores harmony to the community.. John Halifax: .Shamanic Voices..
certainly the legends of Atlantis and other highly developed civilisations, and the folk memories in the mythologies of so many of the planet.s peoples, hark back to this evolutionary stage. could the whole spread and psychic network of this true civilisation of increasingly humanoid beings have been in communal telepathic communication (as some maintain the animal world still is)? certainly something still lurks, like a genetic imprint, in the secret, personal .longing. in every modern ape.s heart. whence did it come, this .still quiet voice" of our natural conscience, like a .Knowledge. Deep in our .Memory of how Life was, or was meant to be?
This True Civilisation appears to have reached its finest cultural flowering around 6000 BC in Tassilli, a vast area of caves in southern Algeria, where a mushroom-revering shamanic society has left cave paintings of mushroom-headed gods and shaman figures from whose bodies emanate distinct psilocybin shapes. they show our monkeys had developed a high level of art, language, and .civilisation. in its perhaps truer sense than anything we moderns, for all our fine (and horrific) technology, have even glimpsed.
some scholars locate the origin of the later Dionysus cult at Tassilli. and it seems likely that this whole cultural cluster spread, as the desert took over, up to the north coast of Africa, inspiring the Carthaginian .Empire., the Minoa goddess cultures, and that the Israelite slaves in Egypt were the last of the truly shamanic civilisations, enslaved by emerging new technocracies.
growing signs of decay
a corrupted level of pagan society
For an observer of our planet, watching from deep space for any appearance of Unbalanced Individual Ego (a clear threat to the .spiritual. evolution we have been witnessing), the danger signs would almost certainly include the appearance of very large structures, especially if these appeared before great technological development.
The pyramids are, therefore, a sign that an elite section of the newly evolved shamanic ape species, must be turning away from the all-equal-in-a-circle spiritual lifestyle of Initiatory Culture.
[see NOTE 3, The Fall]
By the greek era, this militaristic warrior caste, still tiny, is more permanently established, indeed with emergent lines of accession. Alexander the .Great. seems to have been the biggest psychopath in our history for the many monastic centres of wisdom initiation he destroyed in the East. indeed his .brutal. response to the nuanced traceries of process represented by the (symbolic?) Gordian Knot is the perfect image of a falling back (by some) to the chimpanzee stage.
However, though this tiny sociopathic group thought they were the future, the other 98% of greeks, and all other peoples, remained shamanic based. do you seriously think that the activities of Prince Charles or George Bush are what.s happening today?! the annual .social bonding. initiations at the temple of Eleusis, for example, were attended until the end of the 4th century by a large part of the population of Athens, all equal for the three days. greek Culture remained pagan-shamanic though greek .Society. had developed a corrupt, degenerative layer, an ego cancer that cut the individual from identification with the community, the species. the .refreshing. effect of the Mysteries practised at that ancient Mystic University have been described with total enthusiasm by every single famous greek you can mention, all, to a man, regarding them as inspirations to their lives and central to their concept of Society.
We beheld the beatific visions and were initiated into the Mystery which may be truly called blessed& We beheld calm, happy, simple, eternal visions, resplendent in pure light.. Plato.
Nor were these great Pagan philosophers the dry, academic intellectuals imagined today by our fallen .experts.. Pythagoras was a charismatic miracle-worker, Socrates a mystic who.d stand gazing rapturously into space for hours. Diogenes lived, penniless, in a jar by the temple door.
By the time of the Roman era, the militaristic tendency is well developed, and the rampant-ego lust for empire is in full stride. yet, even so, society among the rapidly evolving apes still possessed a parallel balance within it, and the vast majority of the populations of the abstract Roman Empire got on with their own local and personal evolutions, rendering what it must to Caesar but with scant attention.
The Roman elite, however, were gradually co-opting the holy shrines where the people went to consume the healing herbs and Commune with the Gods.. they were turning the intimate inner revelatory group-bonding mysteries of the former pagan Goddess temples into a Spectacle for the public, a Grand Entertainment. complete with pillars, amphitheatres and all the rest of it. simultaneously alcohol (often interpreted as .wine. but which usually included aromatic herbs and such) was beginning to replace, or intermix with the sacred mushroom.
Onward roman christian soldiers!
THE FALL INTO HISTORY
Now we must answer the (for us, today) most important question of all:
How after 50,000 years of successful evolution, involving discovery of all the other abilities which are usually perceived as CAUSES of evolution (fire, the wheel, language, social structure, religion), after the establishing of the large Agri-Cultures, and towns and cities, and cooperative empires where the spiritual life remained central, how, after all this, did we fall into the Dark Ages and eventually get to the terribly fragmented, schizophrenic, alienated, ruthlessly competitive, super-violent, planet-destructive, terrorist-threatened, hi-testosterone, disintegrating aftermath of the Big Lie in which we find ourselves today?
The argument that the military-religious stage to come was the necessary engine for the technological miracles of today must be seen for the self-justifying Big Lie that it is. .Pagan civilisations built vast libraries to house hundreds of thousands of works of literary and scientific genius. Its natural philosophers speculated that human beings had evolved from animals. Its astronomers knew the Earth was a sphere which, along with the planets, revolves around the sun. They had even estimated its circumference to within one degree of accuracy. The ancient Pagan world sustained a population in Europe not matched again until the 18th century. In Greece, Pagan culture gave birth to the concepts of democracy, rational philosophy, public libraries, theatre and the Olympic Games, creating a blueprint for our modern world.. Freke & Gandhi: .The Jesus Mysteries..
Surely the more open a culture (.opened, open-minded.), the more group bonded, then the faster and more balanced will be its discoveries. we must, fairly, consider the possibility that we.d already be populating the nearest planets if the Disaster had not struck which arrested .evolution. completely. and certainly we.d have none of the ecological side-effects and sociopathic business culture which now threaten us.
The Disaster began, and simultaneously the Big Lie, in 321AD, when, for its own nakedly selfish motives, the desensitised, competitive, and essentially male warrior mind of the degenerate Roman elite formed an Unholy Alliance with the least shamanic religion available.
Emperor Constantine showed up at the notorious Council of Nicaea, a conference of the head bishops of one of the many gnostic christian sects that actually represented a renaissance of the pagan spirit. it wasn.t the biggest, nor the fastest growing, and certainly not the most persecuted (that was a part of the Big Lie to come). but that meant nothing to Constantine. what he wanted was a standardised, uni-fit, omni-cultural religion (think Coca Cola) that could unite his disparate empire (as he perceived the vast majority of normally evolving communities of great apes). something to make everyone feel .the same..
No longer roman, and no longer .christian,. today.s corporations and meta-governments perceive and project this same reality model.
And this sect, unlike the others, was already an autocratic organisation, complete with bishops, .experts. who made decisions, for its, well, sheep. - its christian soldiers - precisely the sort of .religion. an emperor .could work with..
This sect put their stress on .Faith.. faith that 300 years before some guy (without a single historical trace) had .done the Ego Dying. for you! all you had to do was have faith. - that your moral superiors knew the .facts.. it was perfect for, well, busy consumers.
The Romans needed a Mystery religion because they were always popular with the people. But Mystery religions were led by mystics and philosophers, who had the audacity to question and undermine the authority of the state. Literalist Christianity, however, was a Mystery religion that had purged itself of all its troublesome intellectuals. It was a religion without mystics, it was the Outer Mysteries without the Inner Mysteries, form without content.. Freke & Gandhi: .The Jesus Mysteries..
The bishops in Nicaea had just voted on a range of issues when Constantine informed them of his decision to make their cult the Official Religion of the Roman Empire . under certain conditions. Bishop Eusebius then led the other bishops in totally reversing their previous votes! and so the Big Lie and its reality model were based in a fundamental schizophrenia from the very moment of birth. indeed, as a sweetener, Eusebius was actually hired by the Halliburton I mean Roman Empire to write the emperor's official biography! move over machiavelli and give Heinrich Goebbels the news!
No wonder the first Christian Emperor, after fixing the Deal, could go home with a clear conscience, strangle his mother, pillage, plot, and poison till his death bed, and then .convert. to .Christ. by saying .I believe this guy whosit died for my whatsits. AND ENTER HEAVEN THROUGH A SPECIAL ENTRANCE IN HIS PALACE! i kid you not!
Grok the enormous threat to our species. continuing evolution by imagining the thoughts of this .simple. man of god (even dumb), .miraculously. catapulted into membership of the planet.s Super-Rich-Elite. hear .Satan.s. whispers in his ear as he gazes across Rome from his splendid new villa. now where was the emperor.s brief? ah yes: .One God + One Emperor + One Uni-Fit Religion..
Here is what Eusebius taught from then on: .Just as the Word of God guides the Heavens, so the Roman Emperor expresses the Will of God in the government of the civilised world.. could anything be more clear?! or depressing?
The germ of the Big Lie was launched! .America expresses the Will of God in the Free World and all civilised nations.. George Bush, etc. READ: we are civilised, you.re so many devil-worshipping towelheads. or here.s a quote from the Evening Standard on July 6 this year, discussing supposedly liberal US senator John McCain: .He is infused with a self-belief that facts could not shake: that God is an American Christian and that his country is only ever moral and good..
The Second Letter of Peter (accepted now as a later forgery) puts it this way: .If you even say hello to them you.re a partner in their evil deed.. .
The winners eventually established the Big Lie
By demonising our natural evolutionary allies
(and by slaughtering all who disagreed)
Aiming, then, to spin for Roman Christianity a history .suitable. to its new eminence, Eusebius mocked up the first .Bible. . MORE THAN 300 YEARS AFTER Jesus DIED (supposedly)! most of the writings of this unscrupulous .Father of Church History. are dismissed by modern scholars. in fact he.s been called .the first thoroughly dishonest historian of ancient times..
From literally hundreds of Gnostic Christ Initiation. myths, he carefully sifted, edited and plain counterfeited a hodgepodge of relevant scraps to push his cult.s version in his Employer's REQUIRED direction: more authority, more .security., more conformance, standardisation of beliefs (no more of this personal liberation stuff which the emperor hates!)
After years of painstaking research we concluded that the traditional history of Christianity was at best hopelessly inaccurate and at worst a pack of lies& The traditional history was written by the winners, but we have come to believe that the account of the origin and meanings of Christianity given by those dissident Christians is far closer to the truth.. Freke & Gandy: .The Jesus Mysteries..
There we have it in a nutshell - the Big Lie was .written by the winners.. and they were the winners for one reason only . they'd allowed themselves to be co-opted by an amoral Emperor.
Over the next fifteen hundred years Roman Christianity proceeded to demonise and resign to the dust heap of history everything, but everything, that had predated it. Socrates? Buddha? Krishna? all were, by definition, primitive savages without Jesus..
the Big Lie, as it was developed, demonised the very allies that caused (and cause) our spiritual evolution from the ape. these millennia old spiritual practices were not even discarded as .mistaken., that would have been a blessing, but no, its practitioners were condemned to death for being demon worshippers. the Roman Christian Church taught that our original ancestors had been PUNISHED for daring to explore their own minds. it replaced our entire evolution with the Original Sin of Eve (the Holy Female Principle without which there is only imbalance as we have today) introducing Adam to the Apple of the Tree of Knowledge! all inspiration. which did not come via Holy Mother Church could only be from diabolical sources.
All the great evolutionary strides the species had been making, a great, liberal, egalitarian, open-minded, shamanic and extremely experimental culture, with vast libraries, sciences, techniques and art, all were condemned as& Devil Worshippers. ALL the natural allies were redefined as temptations leading away from faith in Mother Church. no wonder that this mass turning away from the natural power plants precipitated the Dark Ages!
Indeed the whole definition of .holy places. (temples, churches, pagan copses) was turned into its exact opposite! temples had been safe venues, run by shaman/priest .experts., where people went to take drugs, to be .initiated.. even worldly rulers had had to accept these socio-psychological laboratories as being outside whatever values the surrounding society happened to have, but all that was now exactly reversed.
These holy drugs, of course, because they are freely available in nature and offer a direct line to Goddess Within or one's Higher Self, constituted and remain the single greatest threat to the Church.s monopoly.
Whereas other cultures honour their ancestors as the source of their wisdom and civilisation, we have vilified ours as devil worshippers. What has this done to the Western psyche?. Freke & Gandy: .The Jesus Mysteries..
Roman Christianity also turned the Female Principle into witches. the Inquisition.s Malleus Maleficarum, for example, was not known as The Witches. Hammer for nothing! it instructed the clergy how to identify, hunt down, torture and kill .freethinking women.. .witches,. it defined, as all women who seemed .suspiciously attuned to the natural world. . female scholars, herbalists (!), nature-lovers, gypsies, and any midwife who used herbs to relieve the pains of childbirth, for the Church held that these were God.s punishment for Eve.s partaking of the Apple of Knowledge. hence the idea of Original Sin. conservative (most deeply brainwashed) historians admit to 5 million women in Europe being burned at the stake over a 300 year period. i say it was many, many more, and that.s just in Europe. in greece a half million pagans were slaughtered, men women and children, in a single year!
The Priory of Zion believed that it was this obliteration of the sacred feminine in modern life that caused life to be .Out of Balance,. marked by testosterone-fuelled wars, a plethora of misogynistic societies, and a growing disrespect for Mother Earth.. Dan Brown: .The Da Vinci Code..
And when western explorers could reach distant cultures where they inevitably found shamanic societies practising the original True Story, they dominated and shattered them as had been done to their own inner lives. indeed they saw these peoples. natural awareness as placing them so far outside the world of jesus that they were .better off dead..
With the emperor's power in their sails, this corrupted-even-before-it-began, anti-nature, anti-Truth Religion, this devolutionary tendency, systematically destroyed every other spiritual tradition around, usually achieved by drunken mobs of black-wearing, Christian hooligan book burners. and behind them, professionally paid fanatics destroyed just about ALL the evidence for the True Story, or squirreled it away in bottomless Vatican basements.
The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas, or values, or religion ... but rather by its superiority in applying organised violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do." Samuel Huntington.
Christianity didn't just stop human evolution,
Christianity actually reversed human evolution
Rome, itself, collapsed within a century and a half of going Christian! some say that the Roman Christian un-civilisation which continued to spread across Europe and the world was, in truth, the Roman elite continuing their power game by another route.
By banning any original thinking beyond or outside its teachings, it caused the Dark Ages, during which anyone who tried to live more creatively (or just differently, experimentally) was viciously demonised and physically eradicated. include in this the Knights Templar, the Albigensians, Freemasons, alchemists and any other network who tried to live in any other way. we ourselves would have burned for hearing this essay.
'Western Europe, superstitious, dirty, diseased and degenerate, thrashed by the Arabs and Mongols and Turks, afraid to sail the ocean, cowered behind the walls of its towers and castles, stole, poisoned, assassinated and tortured, and pretended to be the Roman Empire and talked bad Latin." HG Wells.
I could go on for 24 hours about the insanity of the Big Lie.s reality model, but let 3 more examples suffice.
A 12th century monk described woman as .a temple built over a sewer..
Archbishop Usher, one of Christianity.s great thinkers (no originality allowed!), calculated, and placed in the margins of the King James Bible, that God created the entire world in 4004 BC. that.s how out of touch with Reality this madness went.
And lastly here's how William Bradford, an early American settler, described an attack by Captain John Mason' on a Pequot Indian village: Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword, some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, and very few escaped. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy..
Insulting? daring to believe a different story to the Big Lie!
When Dan brown says in The Da Vinci Code that the Roman Christian Church converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda .demonising the sacred feminine, and obliterating the goddess from modern religion. he is telling less than half the truth. fundamentally what it did was to demonise the female shamans and their natural psychoactive allies that are the only true .human rights. we possess, indeed the only power which can actually awaken us instantly from any propaganda matrix, no matter how strong, in which the competitive elite will always try to embed us.
Which, of course, remains their potential today.
Iin the struggle for a future
Freed of the effects of the Big Lie
Drugs Are Our Best Hope!
The genetically modified Society in which we live has no Heart. No psychic centre. Indeed it encourages us to concentrate on looking after ourselves. We, supposedly its citizens, share & feel no common Vision, nor does our .Community. have any agreed overall Purpose. The signs of social breakdown are now so common we.ve begun to think they.re natural. What we most lack is a Social Bonding that links us all together as equal, on some spiritual level.
So that's The True Story Of Monkey.s Marvelous Trip From The African Jungle Into Inner & Outer Space. the next chapter is being written by us right now. and the question now is: can we re-make, are we re-making, a shamanic culture based in the sacred circle of community before we all perish?
The only Real Answer is for every single one of us to genuinely feel that he or she is part of an overall Community. this seems an almost insuperable task.
If it's to occur, fundamental change is required, both in our society and in ourselves as individuals.
As members of a not very well defined alternative movement, more and more people are clearly working to change the outer injustices still being created by the Big Lie.s reality model. but what.s to be done with the embedded, anti-social, cultural hooligan strands at the top and at the bottom of our society? how are they to be made to feel part of an overall Community? what therapy will work for them? because, if we can.t find a way, these .victims. of the old Reality Model will transform any freer and more tolerant Society into a spiritual wilderness.
These elements are also somewhat entrenched in each one of us and need to be worked on individually. unfortunately our deep conditioning means that the True Story is still a long way from being accepted.
On the OUTER level, the news is good. through the Renaissance, the Reformation, Science and all the way up through the 60s Love Revolution, the Millennial Rave Tsunami, and now the Band Aid Crusade, the Big Lie has been largely blown away.
But its Reality Model lingers on and on. While its weapons get bigger.
When christianity was spreading around Europe, it captured the cities first, and the countryside became the fundamentalist pagan holdout. indeed, in one extreme view, the majority of the population remained vaguely pagan until the 1950s when television advertising, by intruding a pulpit into every home, finally .corporatised. them into .good, christian, idealised families..
Today the same pattern is being followed by the pagan revival wave or whatever you want to call it. every single city on planet earth now has its own .pagan/alternative. scene, linked globally to an increasingly pagan global culture. this NOT Christian wave is a natural swelling up from people themselves. not only was it not created by the corporations, they have been forced to market their products with basically pagan ideals . guilt-free nudity and frankness, tolerance, spontaneity, fun, organic and natural.. this wave of .personal freedom. is growing at an amazing rate and is destined to become dominant. and the countryside and suburbia (think American Mid West) are the Big Lie holdouts.
This is undeniable on a large historical level.
Love and respect for Inner and Outer Nature are the fundamental attitude changes required. but how deep do they go in each of us? we in the alternative movement can work on the outer level to change each of the Big Lie.s negative effects, but, when its Reality Model ultimately collapses (as seems inevitable) what.s to stop us falling into a morally empty, dog eat dog world?
Back in the 1980s I coined the term Shamanarchy to describe where we must move to. Anarchy and Chaos are where we could end up unless there is some kind of shamanic evolutionary forcefield into which the new awareness can naturally channel itself . Shaman-archy.
For to recognise the truth in the True Story is infinitely harder than breaking free of the Lie. if you doubt this, here.s a simple experiment. think about something that happened, say, 3000 years ago. TRY AS YOU MIGHT, and I.ve tried it for decades now, it is IMPOSSIBLE to picture that date without dividing it into 2000 years back to some guy who probably never existed, then adding a thousand years before him.
Even more deeply have we been .trained. for a thousand years and a score of generations about our evolutionary allies, the power possessing plants. obviously, over the years, several intelligent, open-minded scientists must have considered drugs as the trigger for evolution, but their reputations would have been utterly trashed if they.d dared to voice it. even today, speaking of these subjects opens one to the danger of being seen as some kind of "drug fiend"..
I only have to say this because we have all been so brainwashed, but, of course, it is not ALL about taking drugs. and it is certainly NOT about abusing or making these Sacred but Dangerous Allies everyday and mundane. quite the opposite! you don.t go to church every day, you go when you feel the need to be spiritually re-inspired.
We shall continue to devolve as a species, and, sooner or later, our almost thoroughly degenerate class of ape rulers will lead us into destruction unless, as a Global Society, we can return these original catalysts (of the evolutionary spirituality we so badly need now!) to the Heart of our Communal Spiritual Life, by which i mean in some sense an Official U.N. Planet Religion.
I know it sounds so far out, so far away, but all the other issues seem to me to gravitate around this central issue. i have explained why all of what I.m saying sounds insanely optimistic and emotionally immature. but look at the world today! who.d have predicted the colossal changes in public perception? people are way ahead of their leaders. what proportion of the billions of people who tuned into Live 8 are living more shamanic lifestyles than even 2 years ago?! and can you doubt that if the 8 leaders who recently met in edinburgh had shared a magic mushroom tea initiation most of the injustices in the world would have been solved overnight? why not?!
It is easy to despair. with so many millions being more deeply propagandised into the failed reality model even as we speak, how can anything be done in time? and yet, our natural allies can change each one of us in a single night! one Initiation each could do it! that.s how close we are, on an inner level. and, let.s face it, with our without approval, it is happening anyway! naturally. without anyone needing to encourage it. all I.ve been doing is explaining why it.s happening, why it MUST happen.
Social Bonding and Individual Expansion, not Capitalism and Narcissism, are our only hope. yet intelligent and seemingly liberated. People can say of a natural plant which has been worshipped for longer in human history than agriculture itself, that v they .don.t need drugs.. we don.t .need. to walk. we could sit still all day. we walk because it.s natural and healthy to do so. we walk and we consult the natural allies around us because, like our ancient ancestors, we value standing up on our own two legs and exploring new reality models.
As a global society, we must find a new guiding image for our culture, one that unifies the aspirations of society with the needs of the planet and the individual& We lost something precious, the absence of which has made us ill with narcissism. Only a recovery of the relationship which we evolved with nature with the use of psychoactive plants can offer us hope of a humane and open-ended future.. Terence McKenna, .Food of the Gods..
we are more deeply conditioned about this critical subject than all others. even modern so-called pagans are deeply conditioned against the natural allies. we assume that the proposer must be talking about some kind of satanic abuse of the natural body . the exact opposite of the truth! it.s evolution! it.s got nothing to do with .needing. to, it.s about self-triggering our species. totally natural and original evolutionary surge.
The suppression of the natural human fascination with altered states of consciousness and the present perilous situation on earth are intimately and causally connected. When we suppress access to shamanic ecstasy, we close off the refreshing waters of emotion that flow from having a deeply bonded and almost symbiotic relationship to the earth. As a consequence, the maladaptive social styles that encourage over-population, resource mismanagement and environmental toxification develop and maintain themselves. No culture on earth is as heavily narcotised as the industrial West in terms of being inured to the consequences of maladaptive behaviour. We pursue a business as usual attitude in a surreal atmosphere of mounting and irreconcilable contradictions. Terence McKenna, .Food of the Gods..
private property, patriarchy, suppression of the weak, the female, the animal, and sex and, above all, our natural shamanic allies. no wonder the modern barbarian human ape uses only a tenth of his brain's capacity! reduced to alienation and atomisation, cut off from a corrupt Public Life, with our proudest evolutionary Social Bonding Ritual reduced to the mere football match or the Queens. Speech, or Thanksgiving.
Capitalism, competition, and its believers. innate, never questioned assumption of superiority to all other peoples, including us, the public. and proud of it! here are some quotes from wanna-be corporate executives introduced as .the best and the brightest. in a recent business program on tv:
it's brutal, it.s tough, it.s business.. .I start surveying peoples. weaknesses as I walk in the room.. .I.m anxious and at the same time I.m excited.. .welcome to new york, it.s the meanest, and the most vicious city in the world.. .I wanted to hit her over the head with a shovel.. I will take him out..
it sounds so familiar to our modern ears that we can easily miss the point that it.s the ruling social attitude in our society! perhaps it is Roman? it.s certainly ruthless. and perhaps it is christian in its contempt for its victims. yesterday a good friend in the business world told me how she.d overheard someone describing (almost boasting) to a group of fascinated young corporate heads how he.d been working in new york when 9/11 happened. seems they could see the towers from their offices. how did they react? they immediately started working out how it would affect the market, should they move funds into gold and so on. such people would have been BANNED at any pre-christian society.s initiation! and driven out of any evolutionary-minded tribe. today they are sold to us as desirable! such people, or such a mentality, constitutes surely the greatest threat to the human species.
To conclude: first, as the present growing alternative community (in its widest sense) and eventually as a Global Society (or federation of Societies) we must reconnect with the Cultural Cluster of ideals, visions, longings, utopian ideas, spirituality, and longings for Unity, Peace and Community which were almost certainly first stirred in their purest forms in archaic times, guided humankind until the Christian Fiasco, and could guide us again.
put it another way. every one of the burgeoning plethora of idealistic movements and ideas today, which almost compete to focus our activity towards Change, are details within the overall Vision (as in Seeing It As It Is) which, when it is activated once more within each individual, will effortlessly and inevitably bring them all about, by general agreement. the Live 8 type of mega events and gigantic peace & eco marches express a new feeling for the planet and Life where many many people experience a sort of GroupMind, of being part of a Community, of fighting for ourselves and our planet.
here's my slogan for the next decade - make HIStory HERstory!
How right the Greeks were to hedge about this Mystery, this imbibing of the potion, with secrecy and surveillance. Perhaps with all our modern knowledge we do not need the divine mushroom any more. Or do we need them more than ever? Gordon Wasson: The Road to Eleusis..
1. Early contact highs
Roland Fischer measured the ability of graduate students. given small amounts of psilocybin, to detect the moment when previously parallel lines became skewed. He discovered that performance was actually improved.
When I discussed these finding with Fischer he smiled after explaining his conclusions, then summed up: .You see what is conclusively proven here is that under certain circumstances one is actually better informed concerning the real world if one has taken a drug than if one has not.. His facetious remark stuck with me, first as an academic anecdote, later as an effort on his part to communicate something profound. What would be the consequences for evolutionary theory of admitting that some chemical habits confer adaptive advantage and thereby become deeply scripted in the behaviour and even genome of some individuals? Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods..
Hallucinogenic plants from the Amazon rainforest are also a powerful medicine against gut parasites. There seems to have been no clear dividing line between shamans. prescription of spiritual or medicinal plants.
Historians would murder for a record of that missing link, forgetting for a moment that stoned monkey had no language to describe it, even to hirself. For the staggering vision in that first trip would have been a blistering, eye-opening and yet blinding intuition of the sudden evolutionary acceleration forwards to star travel. And these events would be burned into the mythic and psychic history of that new species - like expulsion from the garden?
Or here's another thought for the mix. unlike other animals, chimps in trees view the action on the ground from a height. unlike birds, moreover, they spend a lot of time on the ground. they were therefore more likely to .know. detachment (seeing life from a separated height) and more likely to be the first to develop pre-planned action . from advance observation. more likely to appreciate the value and then develop this line of perception.
when I walk behind my dog I.m very aware how his height limits his perception of the world. while i can .foresee. dangers or bitches ahead, he can.t. his world is a blurred stream of colours and objects slipping past each side of his head. for me it.s much more of a fixed overview, like a map in which i can see where I.m heading before i get there. the monkeys, then, when they encountered the magic mushroom and its effects, were more likely to appreciate the survival value and then develop this line of perception.
2. monkey's first trip
the vision of the future
and the vision of the future? the mind boggles, as those ape mentalities must have done (and as the human mind does today). certainly it must have been a separated personal vision quite unlike anything that had occurred to them before.
imagine, certainly, the fraternal bond, telepathic and other, that their shared reverence of tripping must have created among the stand-tall, psychedelicised brothers and sisters! a far, far deeper bonding than, say, 1960s hippies felt when surrounded by enraged and uncomprehending straights.
mushrooms, indeed all psychedelics, dissolve ego. regular ritual ingestion from a young age, then, might even prevent the growth of ego. (for, as implied already,
simultaneously, the ingestion of psilocybin (which, because of the intensity of the experience, would have tended to be a one-off or a new lifestyle) would surely have accentuated personal identity as against the petty village nationalisms of the local tribe, together with more universal reverence for the great brother/sisterhood of the ape family and, indeed, of Life itself.
mushroom tripping today seems able to plug us into a mythological past, while simultaneously affording us a grand, if hard to understand, vision of the future. as i've suggested, the past those apes envisioned would have been of the link between all apes and monkeys, even a reverence for all Life, the perception that in a real but higher sense we are All One. or at least All One Family. a true sense of spiritual Oneness so denied to modern humans.
and, by 'seeing' their co-conspirators as if for the first time, did they glimpse a vision of a new race? of a psychedelicised ape civilisation, spreading across the plains, speaking in tongues, mastering new forces like fire and the wheel - indeed a vision of the human! and a blurred vision of belonging to some kind of chosen race amidst the merely instinctual boom and chatter of the rest of nature's experiments? why me? why us? what special purpose? what awesome destiny?
3. The Fall.
you could argue, of course, that it was a Great Mistake we (or the budding planet) had to make in order to learn the ecological lesson of Community. but my feeling, most of my life actually, is that it was far too costly a mistake. and, in fact, not necessary at all, though everything proceeded unstoppably once begun.
freud once suggested that man achieved dominance over woman when she first saw him comfortably put out fire and she couldnt. sigmund called this a primal moment (not necessarily historical yet probably many times historical!). in the same vein we need a time and a place when the Fall occurred and a new lifestyle emerged, which then continued until it had achieved total dominance by wiping out all vestiges of the previous culture.
"fuck this circle lark, i'll do it my way!"
we.re in a cooler northern area to which psychedelicised ape-human society has spread, around 6000 BC when we know our predecessor civilisation was blossoming in northern africa. the time is the full moon. the tribe has spent the summer at its traditional mushroom locale, but now winter is drawing in.
and something really quite disturbing has happened! there are not enough mushrooms for the ritual!!
now this must have happened many times, which is why the shaman had arisen, specifically tasked by the community to avoid such a situation. other than the shaman, no concept of "leader" had yet emerged, although something of a hunter/warrior caste must have arisen to deal with security problems, while herbal lore would have slowly become the expertise of the more feminine. there are reasons for believing, indeed, that the early shamans were mostly women.
by this point in the evolution and spread of this new species, the group shaman, over many generations, had developed a means for preserving the mushrooms, by drying them, or by preserving them in honey. he had also researched and discovered other drugs which could, in a crisis, be substituted. perhaps, this time, then, they supplemented the few mushrooms they had with a brew of various herbs the shaman had laid aside. and so the full moon ritual passed without too much mishap.
yet things are more serious than might be supposed. the end of summer is approaching (we.re dealing with .The Fall. after all!) and the tribe has to make the momentous decision to go north and spend the winter hunting caribou, or to head for the warmer southlands and fish.
group decisions, of course, have to "emerge" from the "sacred circle" of Group Mind, and only long, psychedelicised talking and swapping of legends, moral folk tales, and wisdom songs could pull/pool all the various personal strands into group harmony.
since nothing closely approaching Group Mind Decision had been evoked, another month had to pass. now the weather's getting colder. a decision has to emerge soon. but still the shaman, despite his best efforts, sending out scouts to other tribes, and those of the whole tribe, searching for mushrooms in other valleys, is unable to obtain the correct material for the ritual, necessitating another full moon with little chance of a group decision. perhaps this time they drank the fermented honey in which the mushrooms had been stored. certainly mead (fermented honey) is found later as part of the staple diet of the northern peoples.
individual egos are popping up like cancer shoots in the tribal body, arguments are simmering just below or already on the surface, and northern and southern factions have even started clustering. the only hope of the wiser elders (for holding together the threatened sacred unity of the tribe) is to put full energy into obtaining enough mushrooms to heal the situation. but scouts continue to report a general shortage.
let's suppose then (as must have happened once) that yet a third mushroom-less full moon appears. winter is by now very much upon them, and, huddled in their sacred circle around the tribal campfire, they try to discuss things sensibly deep into the night, trying futilely for Group Mind. without the mushrooms to dissolve personal egos, however, increasingly angry and even bitter arguments break out. let's say that they have drunk the "mead" and some of the younger males, from the security section, always the strongest-headed among them, are getting more and more frustrated (as well as drunk)
FINALLY ... a young male warrior leaps to his feet, named Eggho, totally infuriated by the same argument going round and round with no appearance of a group decision "emerging" (and anyone who has sat in a rainbow-type gathering today knows how frustrating such circles can be when even the village idiot has to be respectfully attended to). he shouts, something previously unheard of:
"what a fucking way to run a railway! i'm the best of the warriors and a master at hunting the caribou, and i say: if we piss about here for another month we shall lose the caribou spoor and stand no chance of a good hunt. i've been talking to some of the other warriors and the majority will go with me..
.mummy, what's a majority?
.shhh, little one..
So you must each make your own minds up! Now. Fuck this sacred circle lark, we're heading north!"
and, so announcing (again unheard of!), he turns his back on the sacred fire and the sacred circle of his sacred group (unheard of!), and stomps off towards the suddenly threatening darkness, when, as i imagine this primal moment in the psychic evolution of the species, an ancient, monkey-human crone (the shaman herself probably) cries out in a voice so terrible it has echoed down the generations since:
"You Must Not Break The Sacred Circle!"
upon hearing these words, as strong as those ancient voices calling them back from the trees in the african jungle, but without the mushrooms to give him Direction, our irate teenager is stopped in his stride one last time. he turns again (lord mayor of london) to face the sacred fire, the sacred group of his extended family: "oh, yeah?. he demands. .and why not?!!!!!!!"
at which, into the head of the old crone, totally unfamiliar with this new, yelling teenager-competitive style of .communication., and anyway never much good at merely rational argument, floods a torrent of wholistic-style, gaian reasons, all perfectly self-evident but none that ever became easily speakable until the new california sciences of the 3rd millennium BC. unable to marshal all her thoughts for such a traumatic, primal moment, she looks around for help from the others, but none is forthcoming. perhaps they're drunk, perhaps just shocked or exhausted by the bickering. more likely, even, no words for such ideas had yet developed, for it was an existential something the mushrooms helped you feel. and finally she says:
"you'll see ... you'll see!" ........................................
at which our angry male strides contemptuously from the Sacred Circle into the darkness, and an unknowable future - followed by other young males and their favourite mates. each deeply anxious about their status in an overthrown new order, and each trying to reassure himself with memories of that previous, and by now genetically imprinted, climax in their history, when the young had led the first apes out of the forest towards their new destiny.
all the hope, then, of the first, original evolutionary breakthrough to Planetary Intelligence was lost in the breaking of the sacred circle of community. for this new military species-to-be, which our impatient teenage security guy had kicked off, proceeded, by the inevitable ante-raising logic fundamental to competition, to bully, plunder, eradicate and enslave the gentler species. blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth or what.s left of it.
luckily, as said before, not every trace of the old culture was completely wiped out, but has survived, even to the present day, in small pockets with long lineages stretching back to the original "noble savages". the tassili cave civilisation, generally reckoned to have blossomed in 6000bc (that.s 8000 years ago), might actually have survived much later. i.m currently wondering if the phoenicians, the earlier .empire. which the Roman Empire destroyed, were the remnants of that psychedelic culture as the deserts appeared and drove them north to the coast. nobody knows much (Carthage was, of course, utterly razed from even human memory by the winners) but it is known that their .empire. was not like that of Rome. individuals were free to support the Empire or not, as were their allies. indeed Hannibal seems to have totally outwitted the dogmatic Romans more than once, a sure sign of a natural .leader.. tragically, indeed, this is often given as the reason for their defeat by militarised Rome which demanded almost total regimentation.
history is 'his story' of crime
and so, from what has come down to us through our psychic memory as the Fall, the Loss of 'Innocence,' begins what we call "history". even with the best will in the world, we modern egotists cannot help but see our previous tribal innocence as egolessness. it wasn.t absence of ego, it was presence of group ego! quite different. our history is of the cancerous growth and dominance of individual ego in our species. psyche in the chrono-logical downstream cascade of inevitable repercussions of that young male's fateful choice.
in ever decreasing fractals the priest (then expert, politician and today.s corporate businessman) mouths the degenerating religious dogmas to ever less impressed followers until the present day when either full karma is achieved in species- and even planet-suicide ("you'll see, you'll see!"), or the empty husks are swept successfully away by a rebirth of the shamanic spirit of communion with all life.
follow it through, as humanity in its new .modern. form has done - once competition starts, it will dominate and eventually subjugate the noncompetitive, and will develop until the entire planet is ruled by the most efficiently and ruthlessly competitive group. as today. but the beauty (or the horror) is that the theatre of Monkey.s Marvellous Trip From The African Jungle To Outer & Inner Space is no infinite canvas, but a finite planet. (that.s what the old crone was trying to express!) in a closed economic system such as a planet, karma-creation carried on long enough eventually must catch up and teach us its lesson.
and so the old crone's warning against breaking the Sacred Circle has finally come true, today! yes, we shall see. we are seeing why the sacred circle must not be broken. the very planet is now threatened by modern man.s. competitive culture, by ego pure and simple. for now we've run out of places to run.
yes, "we see ... we see!" but can we do anything about it?
Also courtesy of the Psychedelic Salon
Rave Culture And the End Of The World as we know it
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