Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Rupert Sheldrake, Terence McKenna, and Ralph Abraham (1998).
- The Evolutionary Mind: Trilogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable
Santa Cruz, CA: Trialogue Press
Description: Paperback, xvi + 194 pages.
Contents: Preface, 11 chapters, biographies.
Excerpt(s): Ralph: ... He and I smoked up a large bottle of DMT in 1969, and that resulted in a kind of secret resolve, which swerved my career toward a search for the connections between mathematics and the experience of the logos, or what Terence calls "the transcendent other." This is a hyper-dimensional space full of meaning and wisdom and beauty, which feels more real than ordinary reality, and to which we have returned many times over the years, for instruction and pleasure. In the course of the next 20 years there were various steps I took to explore the connection between mathematics and the logos. About the time that chaos theory was discovered by the scientific community, and the chaos revolution began in 1978, I apprenticed myself to a neurophysiologist and tried to construct brain models made out of the basic objects of chaos theory. I built a vibrating fluid machine to visualize vibrations in transparent media, because I felt on the basis of direct experience that the Hindu metaphor of vibrations was important and valuable. I felt that we could learn more about consciousness, communication, resonance, and the emergence of form and pattern in the physical, biological, social and intellectual worlds, through actually watching vibrations in transparent media ordinarily invisible, and making them visible. (page 21)
... Having seen mathematics as a language of space/time pattern, let me ask you this, Terence and Rupert: To what extent could the psychedelic vision of the logos be externalized, either by verbal descriptions or by computer simulations, or by drawings of inspired visionary artists? On the other hand, in what ways could mathematical vision serve the spirit, and extend the mind? Is there a role, in other words, for this kind of thing in our main concerns? To give you a fast-forward toward the answer, let me read a couple of things from your writings.
First, from Terence's Food of the Gods: "The archaic revival is a clarion call to recover our birthright, however uncomfortable that may make us. It is a call to realize that life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience, upon which primordial shamanism is based, is life trivialized, life denied! Life enslaved to the ego and its fear of dissolution in the mysterious matrix of feeling that is all around us. It is in the archaic revival that our transcendence of the historical dilemma actually lies. There is something more. It is now clear that new developments in many areas, including mind machine interfacing, pharmacology of the synthetic variety, and data storage imagining and retrieval techniques; it is now clear that new developments in these areas are coalescing into the potential for a truly demonic, or an angelic self-imaging of our culture." (pages 23-24)
Ralph: Any models that we can build, verbal, visual, or mathematical, are feeble compared to the experience itself. On the other hand, this experience is within all, and without all, and we are immersed in the spiritual world, so the tiniest resonance from the most feeble model may suffice to excite, as poetry excites emotions, spirit. The essence of communication is to have a compact representation of an experience that's infinitely complex. The representations have to be really simple. Representation restricted to verbal mode alone, might be too feeble to excite by resonance, the similar state. Not every person is going to become a cephalopod. Not every person has the time to become a shaman. We need, however, a certain number of shamans in our culture to help to reconnect human society and the play in the sky. We need some kind of amplifying and communicating device between the few people who are our real shamans, let's say sacred artists of the future, and the mass society watching MTV. (pages 24-25)
Terence: ... All pattern seems to quickly lose its charm unless it's pattern that has been put through the sieve of mind. We enjoy looking at the ruins and artifacts of vanished civilizations a lot more than random arrangements of natural objects. It seems to be what we're looking for when we say the MPP [Massively Parallel Processor] data on chaos is like a DMT [Dimethyl tryptamine] trip, what we're saying is, "Here in this pattern is the footprint of meaning." It's as though an architect passed through. We're always looking for the betraying presence of an order that is more than an order of economy and pure function. We look for an aesthetic order, and when we find that, then we have this reciprocal sense of recognition and transcendence, and this is what the psychedelic experience provides in spaces. A critic of the psychedelic experience would object, "Of course it's made of mind. It's made of your mind." For the psychedelic voyager, the intuition is, it's made of mind, but not made of my mind. Either there's an identity problem, or a real frontier of communication is being crossed. When we look for living pattern, or aesthetically satisfying order, what we really look for is a sign that mind has somehow touched the stochastic processes of nature. (pages 27-28)
Father Bede's Letter
Rupert: I'd like to read a part of the last letter I received for my teacher, Father Bede Griffiths. You will recall that he was an English Benedictine monk who lived for nearly forty years in India, where he died in 1993, at the age of 86, in his ashram on the bank of the Cauvery river in Tamil Nadu, South India.
My Dear Rupert,
I've just finished reading your Trialogues with Ralph and Terence. You are certainly three young revolutionaries (you all look very youthful). It is as near a map to the future that I have ever encountered, embracing every aspect of life as it is understood today. The only thing I find lacking in it is a sense of the mystical, of the unity which transcends all dualities. Your view of apocalypse is very impressive, but one must remember that all time and space is contained in the transcendent unity which embraces all multiplicity. The Tibetans see this very clearly. All the multiplicity of forms is a manifestation of the one formless reality. ...
So from an undifferentiated consciousness we pass to a differentiated consciousness. Consciousness divides, but only to reunite. The danger is that we get stuck in the differentiated consciousness, which is where we are now. But all differentiation leads back to a unity which transcends differences. This is the final state of nirvana, sunyata, or nirguna Brahma, Brahma without qualities. In the Trinity everything comes from its original source in the Father beyond differentiation, and comes forth in the Son in all the multiplicity of the universe, and returns in the Spirit to the original transcendent unity-but now is full of consciousness.
This is how I see it, but you bring an abundance of new insights from science which are new to me. In regard to education I think that it's important to be based on traditional religion, whether Hindu, Christian, or American Indian. A tradition links you vitally with the past and enables you to grow. Of course, it can also prevent growth, but our call is precisely to allow the tradition to grow, and to be open to all the new insights which are offered us. But to start without roots in tradition I feel would be frustrating. (pages 177-178)
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