Truth can't be moderated, as by a discussion group moderator. It wouldn't make literal sense to talk about "moderating truth"; the word "moderate" isn't used that way. To talk that way would only make poetic sense.
There are two ways of expressing truth. Poetic aphorisms, which are often unclear and confusing to other people, and explicit statements. It is an abuse of this discussion group, per the group's original purpose and charter, to express truth in aphorisms without explicit clarification. A significant number of people have complained because of postings here that are unclear.
The problem isn't a matter of whether postings express truth. The problem is that aphoristic style postings, without additional clarification, are ambiguous and practically meaningless. Postings that are practically meaningless are out of scope and subject to moderation, even if they contain truth.
That is the problem people are complaining about. It would be rude and inconsiderate as well as a violation of the posting rules to post only aphoristic truths in this group. Many people take the stated character of this discussion group seriously. They come here because of the group's mission and design. When that design is ignored
One of the biggest reasons enlightenment is out of reach is the tendency to use poetic rather than explicit language, and the tendency to insist that only poetic language and not explicit language, can describe religious or transcendent insight. The blend in this group should be about 80% explicit and 20% poetic language. The whole goal is to make explicit about religion what has only been poetic previously. Poetic expression is the problem to be solved and explained.
The end goal is not to post poetic expressions, but rather, to explain poetic expressions explicitly. Given these goals, postings that lack explicit expression are the problem rather than the solution.
If more people complain about the lack of explicit and unambiguous content in postings here, even if the postings express truth in their poetic and aphoristic way, moderating the postings would be a reasonable and fair way of protecting the interests of the community that has been and could be attracted here specifically because of the main promise and charter of the group: to make explicit and unambiguous that which has been chronically and persistently poetic.
The goal is to clearly explain, not just poetically characterize, transcendent insight such as occurs around the high religio-philosophical-psychological experience of ego death and rebirth. Postings that aren't cooperating and helping in this project of clarification will be moderated, to make good on the promise and mission and dedication of this discussion group. Such moderation isn't about the truth content in postings, but rather, the degree of explicit, unambiguous clarity in postings.
I will do the least moderation that produces the greatest benefit toward the mission of this group. I have been uncertain whether to clamp down on the poetic postings -- it doesn't make much difference to me, directly. But if people are complaining that the postings violate the group's mission statement, I am concerned that the postings in question are driving away participants and reducing the success of the group.
Maximizing the membership of the group has always been a non-goal. If I moderate postings, it is out of sympathy for people who want to participate as defined in the group's charter and posting rules, than a desire to maximize the number or quality of members. Perhaps I have given up too much on the hope of attracting highly valuable contributors. Maybe the group could be great and could provide lots of intelligible, insightful, explicit postings. I hardly dare hope for that -- it's an investment that seems like a long shot.
Also a factor is the highly controversial nature of the group, and the public exposure in it: that forces some of the most valuable members to just lurk and not express their wishes for the group. I must take more into consideration the wishes of the lurking scholars. However, I doubt I want to invest the time to fully moderate the group. Time is the most limited thing -- not the quality of other members' postings. Even if people want me to moderate the group more, I'm not sure I'd be willing to spend the time.
I will take into some consideration how on-topic and in-scope people want the postings to be. I know that many people would rather I lead more discussions about the struggle to attain personal self-management and practical self-control, but that is not where my interest and time commitment is lately, even though it's on-topic.
Truth communicated vaguely is only a little better than falsity or silence. The only thing I want and love in a theory of transcendent knowledge is truth expressed unambiguously, literally, directly, and without room for misunderstanding, and this discussion group's charter and posting rules reflect that love for specificity and clarity as opposed to the reigning mode of explanation which is limited strictly to poetic and metaphorical expressions that could be taken multiple, unspecified ways.
The world has more than enough poetic expression of truth. This group is a haven for that poor beleaguered other mode of expression of truth, the scientific and rational mode. There are 99 groups that are perfectly well suited for beautiful poetic postings about truth, and this group for that microscopic minority, the 1% of researchers who are dedicated to explicitly systematizing higher insight. If the poets block that project, then the poets should be moderated.
Such moderation is not a significant censorious block on posting truth; everyone is free to start their own group. Anyone who doesn't accept this group's charter is enthusiastically encouraged to start their own group or join those other 99 groups that revel in today's all-too-common mode of thinking which is limited only to the poetic mode and incapable of using language skillfully enough to also communicate intelligibly in the literal and specific mode.
Those who disagree about the possibility of explaining mystic insight are welcome to post intelligible and specific arguments for their case, but posting vague and poetic commentary or vague denials of the rational communicability of mystic insight can only be considered as an active, willful, deliberate interference with the work of this group.
If I don't moderate such postings when numerous people complain about them, I'm being negligent and failing to follow through on the group's stated charter. I'm mad at being put on moderation on various groups, but I fully respect and support the moderators for having the character and vision to uphold a specific concept for their group.
Unmoderated discussion groups concerning higher religion usually degrade into the kind of soft, formless, shapeless noise and essentially social interactions that is typical of spirituality discussion groups. Those groups that are a negative definition of what my favored, structured approach to transcendent knowledge is all about.
That kind of vague expression and informal communication, and that denial of rational communicability, is the very problem that I have always been committed to overcoming in the field of transcendent knowledge or mystic experiencing.
If there are further unintelligible poetic postings in this group, it's likely I'll moderate them, especially if multiple people complain about them.
The subject of whether mystic insight is rationally explainable is centrally on-topic and fair as a subject of *intelligible* debate here. Those who aren't willing to debate the issue by writing clearly and unambiguously and intelligibly are refusing to follow the fixed rules of structured debate that govern posting. What position you take is optional, but the mode of communication is not optional.
Most discussion groups are mostly for socializing and they recoil in fear at the sight of ongoing structured debate. But this group is designed to not be like most groups. Here, it's all about structured debate and clear, detailed, specific communication. Truth is not something to be moderated, but it's the most reasonable thing in the world to moderate words, which may be an expression of truth that meets or fails to meet the criteria of the posting rules.
Writing this has made me appreciate how rare and precious a rational approach to mysticism is, and has strengthened my commitment to making this group a haven for those very few people who are committed to the power of clear, explicit communication in this field that is so put upon by the majority who like thinking of truth as eluding elude straightforward rational comprehensibility.
Despite what everyone says, recourse to poetry is not necessary or the best we can do for explaining mysticism. The dominant view I'm out to disprove is that poetry can express mysticism but rationality and language cannot. Rationality can fully explain mysticism, and poetry such as mythic figuration can add high art to mysticism. It's a deep, common fallacy to think that only art can adequately address mysticism, while rationality and language cannot comprehend mysticism.
Art and poetry without fully developed rationality and language skills fall short of being transformative. A posting here may or may not contain art and poetry, but it must contain developed rationality and language skills. Those who are slack in their commitment and effort at the latter will be moderated, in the spirit of commitment that defines the group.
The world of spirituality is grotesquely imbalanced, inundated with misty haze and fog, always promoting an extreme overkill of art and poetry combined with disparagement of rationality and language. This group is a sanctuary and haven for the beleaguered few, the minority who want to, for once, give rationality and clear language a chance.
People who like misty haze and fog, art and poetry but not clear communication, are encouraged to find a group -- all too easy to do -- where that mode of expressing truth is the accepted norm.
Mushrooms and Mankind: The Impact of Mushrooms on Human Consciousness and Religion
The Psychedelic Sacrament: Manna, Meditation, and Mystical Experience
Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics
Allan Hunt Badiner (Editor), Alex Grey (Editor), Stephen Batchelor, Huston Smith
>>Who before me has made a general proposal that the real meaning and origin of all the religions is entheogenic?
James Arthur wrote:
>I published the following at http://www.jamesarthur.net in 1997:
>"Information on this space explores the possibilities and evidence supporting the concept that the unique states produced by these plants are intricately connected to the development of mankind and that the plants have multiple connections to the evolution of religious thought and symbolism on our planet. ... Every indigenous culture used these plants and each culture had a person or group of people they looked to for spiritual leadership and they were the plant-knowers (among the myriad of names you can ascribe to them). ... The Amanita muscaria mushroom can be found at the roots of most of the religious writings our planet has to offer. ... These writings have dealt with the use of such substances by spiritual practitioners in most every religion formed on the planet."
>Does this seem vague? Am I not clearly stating that the origins of religion is the use of drugs?
Not as clearly as is needed in this foolish, upside-down era that habitually forces ideas into the status-quo framework unless jarringly awakened and interrupted. Your points need to be greatly amplified. The main point I am trying to magnify and amplify more than has been done previously is that *even* the main religions, *even* in their later development, *not only* in their earliest expression, involved, in a very important way and to a very important extent, the use of entheogenic plants.
For example, Amanita and likely other psychoactives were not only used in some of the various diverse groups which eventually coalesced into Christianity, but were also used by some groups and individuals in Christendom during all later periods up to and including today's American Christianity, forming what certainly should be considered a venerable ongoing tradition, even if semi-suppressed.
My recent emphasis on the need for emphasis concerns my resolution on the delicate subject of the legitimacy of meditation on today's popular spirituality. It was hard to find a way to pound home a certain forceful rejection and condemnation of meditation, while also doing so in a viable, reasonable way.
Common thinking keeps on reverting to ordinary ways of considering the role of meditation versus entheogens, and it was time for someone to stop and shout "No, no, no! Enough! That's wrong, and I must insist more clearly than clear that it is deeply wrong, the opposite of the truth." There is a great difference between simply stating truth, and clearly and effectively communicating truth.
These points about the presence of entheogens must be pushed home far more forcefully, far more broadly, far more emphatically. We've got to forcefully disrupt the status quo, which is reflected in the book Zig Zag Zen. Sure, Zig Zag Zen has a little, it touches on the point that entheogens weren't entirely lacking from all of the Buddhist groups -- but that's the problem, that tepidness, that *imbalance*.
The status quo that we must battle with all our energy to overthrow now is the Huston Smith types who gently assert that entheogens were present in the most ancient origins of ancient religion, and are a valid simulation of meditation that should be considered as legitimate and authentic as meditation. To hell with that imbalanced picture! With friends of entheogens so tepid as that, who needs enemies?
Quit all the excuses and apologetics and just look, in Zen reality-attuned fashion: *clearly* and *obviously*, New Age American Buddhist Meditation is placebo bullshit pretending to be the real thing, when obviously it's nothing of the sort. Entheogens are the real method; meditation is merely an adjunct -- *not* the other way around like Zig Zag Zen and all the rest of the old status quo scholarly "defenders" of entheogens would have it!
It takes a certain boldness and shaking oneself awake to throw off the dogmatic slumber of humble respect for meditation. Screw meditation! It can jump off a cliff! It is effectively an obstruction to actual intense religious experiencing. It doesn't require that one try meditation before earning the right to reach this inevitable conclusion. The most elementary and simple reasoning in the world shows it.
The emperor of meditation has no clothes, just look and see. Almost everyone reports that *meditation doesn't work* as a way of triggering intense religious experiencing, while almost everyone reports that entheogens work very well to trigger this.
Only the most stick-in-the-mud apologists for repressive, evasive orthodoxy could possibly hold that meditation is more effective for triggering intense mystic experiencing -- in fact, even the most obstinately in-denial anti-entheogen meditation proponents are not so utterly foolish as to claim as much -- instead, like weasels and eels, they play a cheap shell game of redefining the goal.
They say "Ok, we admit that entheogens totally run circles around meditation, toward the goal of triggering the intense mystic state. Then we'll save face and prestige by conceding that ground and claiming that we didn't want it anyway. Now we'll redefine the goal of meditation in a way so that we'll be unaccountable. So, the new purpose of meditation, is, um, mindfulness and lovingkindness, yeah, that's the new story!
Meditation is way more effective than entheogens for this one true spiritual goal, of gaining in mindfulness and lovingkindness." That's the low, pathetic argument the obstinate stick-in-the-mud Buddhists have stooped to in the book Zig Zag Zen, associated with Tricycle magazine. It is high time the entheogenists cry out, What total, stinking bullshit, deliberately shifting the goal of meditation to a nebulous, vague, New Age empty-speak that could never possibly be measurable and accountable.
That's just as bad as the Christians. How dare these American New Age Buddhists think they are one bit better than the most fork-tongued Christian literalist officials who preach about regeneration of the sinner, while offering exactly nothing but theological verbiage and crackers and grape juice to effect the regeneration. No wonder the only growing part of Christianity is the Pentecostals -- people have had it with empty, placebo, cargo-cult Christianity.
If you don't make a detailed, emphatic, forceful, unambiguous statement that entheogens are *everywhere* in *all* religions, in *all* eras, you will be steamrollered by the status quo and absorbed into it just as the feeble entheogenic scholarly status quo has been eaten alive and absorbed helplessly into the totally bunk, completely fake and inert false religion of New Age American Buddhist meditation, or dogmatic meditationism such as falsely taught by the pandit Ken Wilber.
The Wilberian method *doesn't work*! Not, at least, by any useful, practical definition of "work". Wilber is exactly the same as a Protestant theologian: he talks about transformation but tells you to attain it by a method that works so poorly, it actually serves to prevent transformation. He preaches the Devil's gospel that salvation is difficult. That's the most powerful interpretation of "works salvation".
Wilber preaches a works salvation in that he says enlightenment is difficult, slow, intangible, ethereal. Dan Merkur's Psychedelic Sacrament is essential for pointing out that there is another view: what in Buddhism is the vajrayana "lightning path". There are two gospels, two religions, two attempts at salvation and enlightenment: the hard path of salvation through works, and the easy, short, lightning path of salvation through faith, which amounts to consuming the real, entheogenic flesh of the savior, Dionysus.
When all is said and done, Wilber preaches a false gospel of works-salvation, like Merkur's non-entheogenic Jewish mystics with whom he contrasted the rational, entheogen-using, fast-track, short-meditation-session mystics. My gospel or teaching is the lightning tradition: enlightenment and salvation are easy, fast, simple, rational, entheogenic.
The others like Wilber spread another gospel or teaching, the slow, hard, works tradition: enlightenment is difficult, slow, complicated, beyond rationality, and non-entheogenic. Wilber has ingested MDMA a few times and he reports one non-consenting, probably LSD experience in college.
Regardless of his own personal experience with meditation and entheogens, he only needs to read the massive evidence of the reports, to reach a better conclusion than he has: the reports clearly indicate that meditation works very poorly, while entheogens work very well, to produce experiences that people report as intensely mystical and life-transforming.
So he has to do a complicated, elaborate dance to elucidate in "integral theory" fashion how entheogens are important, yet much less important than meditation. Wilber is Mr. Epicycles, starting by building an infinitely elaborate system, before he has grasped how utterly straightforward, fast, simple, and easy the bulk of enlightenment is, in the truly traditional entheogen path.
The straightforward core of effective initiation is completely lost and scattered in his baroquely comprehensive system. He manages to put transformation ever beyond reach by approaching it through the works-salvation stance in which transformation is considered hard, complicated, and slow.
We need to use a much bigger hammer and pound much harder to forge an entheogen theory of religion that doesn't get instantly swallowed into the dominant middle-level religion worldview, that swamps the theory in mediocrity and defuses and assimilates reductively the immensely effective power of entheogens compared to meditation and conventional ordinary-state Jungian psychological mysticism.
Middle-level religion defuses and neuters the entheogenic tradition by damning it with faint praise and falsely reasserting the meditation path, with its gospel of slow, lengthy, difficult, rare, non-rational enlightenment. We must amplify the entheogenic position and theory so that this pattern of absorption is forcefully and finally disrupted.
We must throw down the gauntlet to the official histories of religion and the mainstream proponents of meditation and assert that they are totally full of shit and are telling the opposite of the truth -- our mistake has been to play along with them and affirm their way of painting the picture and balancing its elements. It's time to stop playing along with the meditationists and the official historians of mysticism, and declare that their picture is *completely false*. The meditation dogma is completely false.
The official mysticism portrayal is completely false -- just as the portrayal of Gnosticism as a later deviation from the original pure Christianity is completely false.
Researchers overemphasize the presence of the entheogens at the temporal beginning of the religions, at the expense of pointing out their presence in the continued later development of the religions.
Your quotes could be interpreted as covering this ground, but they are abstract and I had to read them twice and hunt down, to bring out, the meaning that I'm looking for. After reading your site and your book, I did *not* come away with any idea of a maximal, strong hypothesis that psychoactives have been a thriving, though beleaguered, ongoing de-facto tradition from the start of Christianity to present-day Christianity.
To communicate your ideas you need to express your points vividly -- the quotes are not a vivid expression of the radical proposal that, say, the Christian mystics were tripping on Datura, that the Central American Catholic indigenous were integrating entheogenic visions into Catholic iconography. You convey your points about Amanita Christmas very clearly -- there is no way someone could read you without coming away with Amanita=Christmas.
But it is too easy to read you without coming away with "Christianity in all eras = Amanita".
The quotes below don't clearly express the maximal entheogenic theory of religion: that essentially all religions have always really been about entheogens, from the start through their later developmental eras, and never were really held to be about literalism.
A most fascinating revelation is that all civilizations always held the earth to be round; it was never held to be flat -- we were just *told* by self-aggrandizing 19th-century science-promoter/propagandists that we were the first to not hold backward views -- like white man claiming to discover medicinal drugs, when he's really just co-opted timeless indigenous plant use.
To make progress in this field, we must almost overstate the case, such as overstating it and then clarifying and qualifying.
Your quotes below, by themselves, are too genteel, soft-spoken, and complex to push the point home that Christian mystics of the Middle Ages were tripping on psychoactive plants, and that Christian theology is actually based on the intense mystic altered state induced by entheogens, more importantly than it is based on any other sources such as non-augmented flagellation or contemplation.
I think we must consider Middle Ages Christianity and its equivalent in other religions as three populations: the officials, the mystics, and the populace. Who used entheogens? Most mystics, many of the populace, and some officials.
We must do better than merely asserting that the temporal "origin" of "religion" is drugs. Entheogen religion researchers must claim *far* more ground, in the number of eras and in the number of religions covered by the theory.
Both the origin and all of the later eras of all the religions, certainly including Christianity, Judaism, Hellenistic mysteries, ancient philosophy-religion, indigenous religion and shamanism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestantism, *all* contained the venerable de-facto tradition of using psychoactive plants to trigger intense mystic-state experiencing, and that *all* the literalist history embodied in the religious stories is entirely allegorical mythic metaphor expressing the psychological and cognitive phenomena experienced during the entheogenic mystic altered state.
Entheogens were used routinely; they were ever-present and *not* just at the origin -- so the literalist officials today cannot use the dispensationalist cop-out of saying, "Well, the founders or early heretics used these, but these plants have no proper place in our later tradition." Gentle qualified statements that there were some plants at the beginning leave the literalist officials far too much weasel-room.
This is why we have yet to express the maximal theory in a way that successfully communicates it forcefully and unambiguously.
It has been hard working up, forcefully enough, these ideas, pointing out in fiery detail with vivid condemnation just how intensely and radically opposite of the truth the official portrayal of the history of the religions is.
We've got to light the entheogen theory on fire, really highlight and emphasize it, stop soft-pedaling it, come out and clearly make a very forceful statement -- taking all of your statements several notches up and expanding them several degrees to emphatically cover all religions, all eras -- and only after, qualify and smooth out the assertions. I don't think you have explicitly, effectively expressed the maximal entheogen theory.
It's too easy to read your quotes and still discount entheogen use as safely limited, scattered deviations that happened at a few points in the past. That's too amenable with the official story -- "Oh, those were just isolated heresies that sometimes popped up here or there, out on the far periphery -- never mind those, they aren't important to the core tradition."
We need to emphasize more the *continuity* and *ubiquity* of *many* entheogenic plants in practically *all* the religions, even in the extreme of Middle Ages Catholicism. Many more Christians -- officials, mystics, and populace -- were aware of the entheogenic nature and essence of theology and Christian myth, than the 20th Century modern-era mainstream assumed.
To put forth a new paradigm, one must show a new balance of emphasis of various points. The maximal entheogen theory of religion would be expressed more in your quotes if they compensated more for today's biased assumptions. The reigning bias that I'm out to overthrow by framing the maximal theory with a new balance of emphases is the recent assumption that entheogens were present at the origin of Christianity but not in its later development.
I'm encouraged in this change of emphasis by Dan Merkur's study of entheogens in later Judaism, not just in ancient days of the early scriptures. I have never read, as I recall, any proposal that the Christian mystics used entheogens -- except by implication in the article about the lily as Datura in Entheos journal.
If you or anyone has written that, it failed to make a conscious impression on my thinking, and needs to be hammered home as effectively as your Amanita Christmas research -- at this point, all that's needed is a crystal clear proposal, showing the general plausibility, not evidence toward proving it.
>Gnostics could agree with practically anything said about Jesus' existence, by declaring the words acceptable as metaphors. Why use such obscure language instead of saying clearly what you mean? Was there a social, cultural, or theological problem to circumvent through veiled language?
That is a good question that needs further investigation. It is fortunate that we don't have to devise ways to talk in obscured and veiled language these days.
During the Radical Enlightenment, 1650-1750, writers routinely had to pretend to take the opposite view of that they actually held, because the State controlled the publishing apparatus and considered eternal torment in Hell to be a threat that was essential threat to maintain the social order. To put forth a view other than Literalism, you'd have to write as though you were a Literalist, explaining clearly the heretical ideas in detail and then summarily dismissing them in haughty Literalist authoritarian fashion. No one really was quite sure what any other writer actually believed -- just as the early "theological debates" were obviously just smokescreens for sheer power-politics.
There are many reasons to adhere to a more restrictive way of communicating than today's personal website publishing where nearly anything goes. We struggle to appreciate how rarely people have been allowed to publically simply say what they mean.
There are some aspects of the psyche that are secret and hidden, so the psyche itself suggests a kind of secret hidden knowledge. Some hidden aspects of the psyche can be discovered, but some aspects remain inherently hidden, like the origin of thoughts. You can watch thoughts arise from a hidden source you can't control, but you can't see the source itself, only "God's back".
During initiation there is the ability to watch thoughts this way, but upon doing so, spiritual death is experienced and is experienced as a kind of terrifying chastisement and death, like a punishment of the lower self -- this suggests allegories of being punished for seeing Truth; if you go hunting in the forest of the mind and come upon the goddess naked, she will punish you with spiritual death of the lower self.
Some theories propose that the Eucharist or initiation was considered to be restricted and in limited supply. Secrecy and the centrality of the Eucharist are two key ideas. Political formations certainly entered into the mix; religion and politics and the sacred meal were all mixed up together, and mythic allegories always start with a framework involving kingship and rebellion.
I also have a political theory about why it was forbidden to reveal the mysteries. Determinism (necessity, fate, hiemarmene) was revealed in the core of the mysteries, and was dangerous to admit in the democratic society, because sovereigns always try to justify their actions as being religiously fated, meant to be, and smiled upon by the gods: I'm in charge therefore I am righteously meant to be in charge by divine right. Fate, the gods, put the scepter in my hand and put me on the throne, so to resist me is to rebell against the gods themselves.
Kingship is rulership is godship is, with the Fates, above all restriction -- that's the thinking that the democratic purveyers of the mystery religions want to control and keep safely hidden in the ceremonies. With the new legal city-state in Athens, people had to pretend to be each a little sovereign freewill agent, despite the fatedness and timeless frozen determinism that was clearly revealved and experienced in the mysteries.
Another reason for secrecy about enlightenment is similar to keeping sex hidden from children. Initiation is sacrificing your first-born childself. If we initiate young people before their time, we would prematurely overthrow and destabilize their egoic mental formation. We should not initiate people before they have mentally developed to the stage that is ready to go beyond the illusion of egoic self-controllership and encounter the paradigm-shattering no-free-will/no-separate-self revelation, the child-devouring Minotaur that awaits the sacrifice in the labyrinth of the mind.
Mythic allegory suits this need well, the need to develop the ego for awhile and then transcend it. The child can safely hear the myth without understanding it, and then when the lower mind is mature and stable enough, we can experientially reveal the soul-shattering meaning of the myth.
The mysteries lead to an encounter with great danger. Four rabbis studied the mysteries. One of them died, one went mad, one caused great destruction, and only one of them attained peace and understanding.
There are a couple books on secrecy in antiquity I want to read.