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'Negative Experiences' Fallacy - Diminishment by Equating Unpleasant with Unmystical


Failure, dysfunction, negative mystic reactions. 1


Failure, dysfunction, negative mystic reactions

I have read the inquiries people have sent to me.  I can't reply to everyone, but I do generally address these problems in my thinking and eventual writing.

From the Net (excerpts):

>My experience left me troubled. I couldn't function for a long time. I wish it never happened. My instructer was the non-verbal type who wasn't allowing me to express concerns. He seemed to think that my confusion was a good thing. My collapse led to homelessness, which as far as I know, he didn't know (or want to know) about. This was about 25 years ago.

>I'm still trying to figure out how some people seem to think it's a really good thing... how can they function so well?

>When I was working on zen....I was sitting around quietly, staring at walls. That wasn't part of the discipline. I just couldn't think of anything better to do. I couldn't function. I was ill.

>Normally I feel that most psychotropic drugs, whether recreational or therapeutic are the wrong approach. I've never tried either. Yet almost every drug abusing person I know from my adolescence turned out better than I did as far as personal developement. Anything, including drugs (and I refer here to drugs disparagingly) would have left me in better shape than what happened.

>Why does the same transcendent experience work so well for some people and others react negatively to it?

>Not everyone looks into their own mind and sees the workings of the machine clearly. For others, even those who've made great effort, there is a dark room.

Death, despair, and the end of the world, I know them well.  I'm semi-functional, semi-dysfunctional, always have been.  Gifted and cursed, lucky and unlucky.  My life was filled with darkness mixed with bright light of hope and discovery, failure and breakthrough, and more failure and more breakthrough.  There are many personalities, many lives. 

Intense religious experiencing can help and can hurt one's balance.  I regularly hear from people who have experienced life or religious experiences as an often losing battle.  A combination of defeatism and hope might be the most workable response.

You seem highly developed in some areas.  You may have problems of overintelligence and hyperconsciousness, making you shaman material, unlike the normal partiers and social square pegs.  One contrast deserving more study is the super well-adjusted people who never seem to have to grapple with personal self-management (Wilber, Kant), and those for whom life is often a battle against themselves, lacking mental integrity (Watts, Osbourne).

Some might say your real problem arose from your not working *through* the problems.

I'm still pulling my description of rational transcendent knowledge together, but even now there is enough to read and form an alternative view of what religious experiencing and insight is really all about. 

I've heard the same kinds of failure and despair from those who have used entheogens, those who have used then abstained, and those who have used meditation without entheogens.  Failure and frustration in life?  Blame it on the entheogens, or blame it on quitting the entheogens, or blame it on the meditation practice -- I've seen all these attempts to make sense of life and of dysfunction of personal management.

Better to seek a degree of moderation rather than wishing for a magic bullet.  Accept mental dysfunction and try to reform it enough to get by.  Lower your demands on yourself, strive to muddle through, at least.

Dreams that have shattered may not have mattered

Take another point of view

Doubts may arise though like chasing a rainbow

I can tell a thing or two.

My poll of reader interests showed no great interest in the subject of personal management and self-control, but the reports sent to me tell otherwise.  I came from the dark night and the pit of years-long Zen frustration myself.  I can relate to those whose life and mental integrity seems a wreck for no particular reason. 

For those who are downtrodden in a common mundane way due to sociopolitical oppression, I have no great interest -- but I especially am interested in the case of the controlaholic, someone who, like an alcoholic, *should* be doing great in life, has had opportunities, but seems cursed by their own mind, with self-defeating thinking and behavior.

I have written extensively against anti-intellectualism in mysticism.

Ken Wilber wrote extensively on issues you raise, about functional vs. dysfunctional, appropriate vs. inappropriate responses to the problems that arise in the mystic altered state.  He's against subtle reductionism: against elevating one isolated aspect of mental development to be a supposedly complete system.  We need to develop in all aspects, in all ways -- basic personal management (as I would put it), and rationality, and mystic state cognition.

Transformations of Consciousness: Conventional and Contemplative Perspectives on Development

Ken Wilber, Jack Engler, Daniel P. Brown



Building on Alan Watts, I spell out how self-control is largely a delusion.  This can be explained clearly and rationally and can be experienced during initiation in a mystery religion. 

Having a clear rational model of ego death and ego transcendence, such as I am working to provide, would probably make life easier for those who are troubled by mental inconsistency or the phenomena of the loose cognitive state.


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