Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Seduction of the Spirit: The Use and Misuse of People's Religion.
Cox, Harvey. (1973).
New York: Simon and Schuster.
Description: 350 pages.
Contents: Preface, 13
chapters divided into 3 parts: I. Testimony, II. People's Religion,
III. The Electronic Icon, notes on sources, index.
Excerpt(s): I don't believe
for a minute that all those terrifying "drug education"
spots on TV will scare kids out of trying drugs. In fact, they
may have the opposite effect. Everyone longs, sometimes secretly,
to experience altered states of consciousness. Adolescents are
intrigued by death and danger, not repulsed. How can people
lure them into movies with the same symbols they somehow
think will repel them from drugs? Our drug epidemic may
or may not be a serious one. But I believe it is a symptom of
a deeper cultural disease-the disappearance of legitimate occasions
for ecstasy, trance, emotion and feeling, and the erosion of traditional
rituals. When I was a kid, people got "high"
at revivals and during other religious events.
Everyone needs to experience that special kind of mental elation
now and then. If we don't do it one way we will do it another.
We won't outgrow drug abuse until those needs too, not just our
needs for bread and housing, are cared for. Man does not live
by bread alone. (page 41)
The mystics and contemplatives have served as the
guardians and explorers of that uniquely human
realm called "interiority ." I think we
need them today, perhaps more than we ever have, precisely because
authentic personal life is now so fatally threatened by an intrusive
technical world. This may explain why we are seeing around us
a spectacular rebirth of interest in meditation, Zen, Yoga and
the classical contemplative disciplines. It is a renaissance of
interiority, and it represents an instinct for survival by the
jostled modern spirit. We are so relentlessly pounded today by
messages and stimuli from without that we need support from any
source whatever to learn again to listen to what comes from within.
There is even good clinical evidence that these ancient spiritual
practices help us "deautomatize" ourselves and teach
us how to tune down our overdeveloped capacity for responding
to external signals from the media and elsewhere. ...
"Interiority" may be another word for
what Kierkegaard called "subjectivity"
or for what an older tradition simply called the "soul."
In any case, these different words all remind us that men and
women are more than the sum total of all the social, economic
and other forces that influence them. This in turn suggests, however,
that the old religious fear, that somehow I can "lose my
soul," is not as silly as we once supposed. I lose my soul
if I become merely the sum total of all the external inputs. ...
The renewed quest for interiority is a way of fighting the violation
of our marrow we experience in an acquiring-consuming-competing
society. (pages 93-96)
Paradoxically, faith is politically
relevant only because it comes to any given moment with a perspective
that seems a little out of phase, even odd, to those with no such
perspective. This out-of-phase quality gives faith its leverage,
its critical perspective and its capacity for moral suasion. (page
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