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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Psychedelic Teacher: Drugs, Mysticism, and Schools.

Gotz, Ignacio L. (1972).
Philadelphia: Westminster Press.

ISBN: 0-664-24941-8 paperback
0-664-20923-8 hardcover

Description: Paperback, 154 pages.

Contents: Preface, introduction, 3 chapters, epilogue, 2 appendices: I. A Classification of Psychotropic Drugs, II. Distinctions between Descriptions of Drug-Induced and Spontaneous Experiences, chapter notes, bibliography.

Excerpt(s): Claiming that the emphasis should be on "use" and not on "abuse," the author sees drug use as symptomatic-as indicative of a deep human need to search for integrating experiences and ideologies. In this sense, he defines the drug experience as "religious experience." He believes schools should take responsibility to provide constructive experiences to meet needs of young people turning to drugs. They can do this by teaching about the religious and ideological traditions of our society, by avoiding the downgrading of subjective experiences, by fostering the search for different ways of viewing reality, and by helping youth to use their experiences as sources of meaning in life. (back cover)

Aside from the question of neutrality, the infatuation with the principle of separation of the institutions of church and state has led us to consider the problem of religion in life purely from an institutional point of view. We have pitted the institution of religion against the institution of the state, but there is more to religion and to the state than is dreamed of in their institutions. Here, of course, I speak primarily about the religious experience. This has been the aspect neglected all along in the disputes and controversies regarding the separation between church and state. Because of the concern with the institutional aspects of religion, the emphasis has been on dogma, on the theology, on the structure, on the rules. The very rich mystical tradition existing in the West has been all but forgotten even by the religious institutions themselves, to the extent that our young, when growing up in our culture, have felt compelled to go to the East for symbols and explanations which, in fact, are not at all lacking in the West. (page 83)

But we may not have reckoned with the indomitable spirit of man, the concrete man who strives to assert his natural rights. As we successively endeavored to close the various avenues to the beyond of ordinary reality, man's ingenuity has come up with new ones, or has rediscovered old ones, or has reactivated unusual ones. To be sure, some of these avenues are dangerous to travel. One needs guidance in all of them, and even then it is not possible to avoid all bad trips. The point I am trying to make is that such unpleasant incidents are attendant upon the use of any and all means of achieving enlightenment, and not only on the use of drugs. To close all avenues because of the dangers involved is like saving "the toenail of society by amputating its foot." In Osmond's words: "We need not put out the visionary's eyes because we do not share his vision. We do not need to shout down the voice of the mystic because we cannot hear it, or force our rationalizations on him for our own reassurances." ... To oppose all nontherapeutic use of drugs is to fail to recognize the value and usefulness of drugs as a means of awareness. Furthermore, to oppose such use of drugs without, at the same time, making available to our young other avenues of enlightenment is simply to continue to thwart a natural, legitimate, deep-seated, human urge . (pages 87-88)

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