Perennial philosophy - Atheism and Theism are DEAD

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Kafei's picture
Perennial philosophy - Atheism and Theism are DEAD

I was on The Atheist Experience show recently, and I tried to introduce a concept that seems to be getting some spotlight in the mainstream culture through books like "The Future of the Mind" by Michio Kaku, through recent scientific research that has taken place, and is still taking place, and artistically in the mainstream of our culture through the work of the psychedelic artist Alex Grey and other artists, and other mainstream venues.

The concept is Perennial philosophy. Ray Comfort spoke about how "Atheism is Dead." Well, from the perspective of the Perennialist, both theism and atheism are "dead," and that is based on very recent scientific research. Perennial philosophy claims that the driving force behind the founders of the major religions is mystical experience. It is a phenomenon in consciousness that has always been around, but occurred rarely in individuals. Scientific investigation into "mystical experience," and yes, that's a word that these recent studies have adopted because they relate to altered states of consciousness which historically had only been written and spoken about in a religious context; it has nothing to do with magic, the supernatural, etc. as one might assume when they see the word "mystical" in the term "mystical experience." However, don't let that word fool you as to how this term is used in this peer-reviewed study that has been published in the Scientific Journal of Psychopharmacology. If you'd prefer a more in-depth definition of the term, I'll link to a talk given by Roland Griffith who led the trial. They were using psilocybin to induce "mystical experience," and more studies are still currently taking place at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Roland Griffiths defining "Mystical experience
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxWvIp9XtUc#t=8m17s

The Atheist Experience Call
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syKwxVKGJUU#t=53m17s

Now, some people may have thought, "Wait a minute, mystical experiences, what? Did he just slide in a drug into the convo?" I understand that. During my call with Tracie and Russell of The Atheist Experience, when I mentioned there was a study that was taking place where people were being injected with pure psilocybin, and that they cause "mystical experience," Tracie and Russell gave a booming laugh, and Tracie retorted, "Okay, I don't doubt it. I think you'd have quite the experience if someone pumped you full of psilocybin."

Sure, and of course, but here's the point that I believe these studies are attempting to make and what most people overlook. The experience that they're inducing is not exclusive to psychedelics. As most people are finding out, our own bodies produce DMT. These scientific studies have shown that these experiences are a potential in us all, it's simply that it's a very rare occurrence which is why most people don't know about it. N,N-DMT is suspected to induce such an altered state during high levels of stress as in a near-death experience, or extreme asceticism (as practiced in ancient Hinduism), and also during intense relaxation as in deep meditation. There are other studies that date further back investigating the mystical experience in Tibetan monks whilst in meditation, and lo and behold, you find similar brain states compared through fMRI with the psilocybin-induced state. This seems to suggest that the mystical experience is hard-wired into human beings. Psilocybin, once passed the blood-brain barrier, is converted to psilocin. If you compare N,N-DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) to psilocin, you'll find that they're structurally strikingly similar:

http://i.imgur.com/k0Lgal6.png

Now, the thing is about this experience is most people have nowhere in their personal experience to draw from to relate to such an experience. It's hard to fathom what it is. Some people will imagine it's some type of extreme awe when you stand before the Grand Canyon or gaze at a star-lit sky or the awe in witnessing a birth or death. It's nothing of the sort. At 59:03 in The Atheist Experience episode Russell Glasser says, "Being someone who is very cautious about mind-altering my brain with drugs," this very statement is an admittance of never having such an experience, and it even may preclude the possibility. You see, most people are "cautious" in this manner, especially when taking psychedelics. The amounts used in the study to produce this experience are amounts most people would not be comfortable taking. You don't get this with one or two caps of mushrooms, it's necessary to take more than you're comfortable with. Meditation is also a path to inducing this experience, but most people do not have the patience for it, let alone know what it involves. So, the majority of people on this planet have not, and are not having this experience because most people are afraid to take 20 dried grams of psilocybin-containing mushrooms or to dedicated their lives to the discipline of meditation, and perhaps they finally have this experience at death.

But the point is that the body can have this experience naturally, and so many neuroscientists, philosophers, psychologists, etc. have had the suspicion that people have been having this experience throughout the ages, and it may have been what the founders of the major religions experienced so long ago. Only, if you're born in India, and you have this experience, just as I mentioned to Tracie and Russell, because Gautama interpreted his mystical experience through the lens of Hinduism, he then so founded Buddhism. So, culture can shape how you interpret the experience, but the underlying characteristics are universal throughout all religion, and what the studies have shown is the underlying characteristics of mystical experience are universal to any individual who has such an experience. Now, Perennial philosophy is a perspective that had always known this, but of course, back then "mystical experience" wasn't seen through scientific eyes as an altered state, but stated as the metaphor "union with the divine." This view dates back to the Traditional School of Thought, and even further back to Neoplatonism. Of course, it's no mystery that Buddhism is about inducing altered states, likewise the grandfather religion Hinduism dating back to about over 5,000 B.C., and even shamanism predating all religion was heavily involved with these type of altered states of consciousness.

As an example, I witnessed an atheist come to the baseline of consciousness after vaping DMT. He described the experience as, "It felt as though I was somehow able to glimpse a higher dimension." Now, this particular atheist may have not believed he literally witnessed a "higher dimension," but nevertheless this was the best way they could articulate the inner impression felt experientially. Likewise, if you're someone living over 2,000 years ago, and you have such an experience, you may be inclined to call it Brahman, the ground of all being, Allah, God, nirvana, moksha, satori, the Beatific vision, etc. From the Perennialist perspective, this experience has had many names be it God or a panesthesia, all neural pathways lit up as the brain being the generator of experience is now producing all experience at once. That's how profound the experience truly is, and it will shed off in its eddies many interpretations filtered through the personality of the individual who has such an experience, but certain characteristics that have been pointed out in the scientific study are universal throughout.

I'm willing to wager that most atheists on this forum either A) never tried DMT or B) never even heard of it. If we are to understand what religion is truly about, and not the nonsense it's been contorted to today. We should pour emphasis on this phenomenon in consciousness, and give it the scientific respect and research it deserves, otherwise religion will continue to flourish in the dead nonsense it is, and atheists will continue to retort that same dead nonsense instead of giving prominence to what should be recognized, and what is grotesquely being overlooked today.

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Nyarlathotep's picture
Say hi to the self

Say hi to the self-transforming machine elves for me.

Kafei's picture
You're talking about Terence

You're talking about Terence McKenna's metaphor. You know, he's actually the guy that influenced me to partake in this endeavor. I wouldn't underestimate those so-called "self-dribbling machine elves." This is an experience that everyone has the potential for, and you needn't psilocybin to get there. Terence also used the metaphor of Gaia and hyperspace to describe the experience. I believe it's truly nameless. I believe throughout various cultures, the individuals who had this experience developed different names/metaphors which would account for the various religions throughout the world, and that is essentially what Perennial philosophy is proposing.

It's time for a new perspective, and that may not be Perennial philosophy, but who knows what it will evolve to; a Neurotheology? Because you see most atheists identify themselves with the term 'agnostic atheism.' No intelligent atheist declares himself a gnostic atheist. Even the atheist is still unsure whether such phenomenon exists, and so they nevertheless still consider themselves agnostic. However, as I pointed out to Tracie and Russell, Perennialism isn't an atheist or even theist point-of-view. It is an entirely different perspective altogether, because it emphasizes that the literature from the rhetoric of Christianity to the koans of Buddhism derive from this universal phenomenon in consciousness. So, "God" is then seen as a metaphor to describe a very particular altered state which our neuroscientists are dubbing "mystical experience."

Nyarlathotep's picture
Kafei - "You know, he's

Kafei - "You know, he's actually the guy that influenced me to partake in this endeavor."

Yes, that was my guess, and why I mentioned the elves. I'm all too familiar with McKenna and his nutty claims. Enjoy:

Kafei's picture
I didn't agree with

I didn't agree with everything the guy said either such as the Timewave Zero concept, but he had other interesting concepts such as his "Stoned Ape theory," and plenty of other interesting concepts worth exploring. I think the reason he got a lot of flack was because people took him too seriously. He didn't take himself that seriously. So, I think you're sort of lampooning McKenna as though he had nothing credible to say. If you ask me, the greatest influence he had on our culture was informing people of the "heroic dose" which is necessarily to elicit the "mystical experience." That's what we should be emphasizing, not petty criticism.

Ivinski Borokove's picture
"mystical experience."

"mystical experience."

Why is it I still get theistic vibes from that phrase?
.........
..........
Oh! Its because its just as unfounded.

Kafei's picture
A lot of atheists, I find,

A lot of atheists, I find, have bad vibes from the phrase simply because they associate it with things that aren't relative to the scientific studies themselves. I highlighted this very point in the original post which you obviously overlooked perhaps due to skimming too fast through the paragraphs without paying attention to detail. That's why I recommend a little research before close-mindedly announcing it unjustified, unfoundedly which is what you've just done here. Why don't you Google "Johns Hopkins mystical experience" and inform yourself before making such haste and irrational conclusions?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Kafei - "That's why I

Kafei - "That's why I recommend a little research before close-mindedly announcing it unjustified, unfoundedly which is what you've just done here."

Want to know something funny? Check the alternative text contained in the image I posted earlier in the thread. It reads "nb4closeminded". Must have been the self transforming machine elves!

Nyarlathotep's picture
Yes, I'm familiar with the

Yes, I'm familiar with the "heroic dose" doctrine, and yes it is doctrine. For those who don't know what we are talking about, it goes something like this:
--------------------------------------
If you take a Y{2g, 10g, amount varies} amount of substance X{dmt, psilocybin mushroom} you will have the shared experience Z{self transforming machine elves, the great goddess, claims vary} that everyone else has when they do this. You can tell it's a doctrine because when this fails to happen, they immediately blame the subject. Typically accusing them of lying, not taking enough (retroactively changing the value of X), or of somehow not doing it "right".
--------------------------------------
Xavier de Forres - "Why is it I still get theistic vibes from that phrase?"

Exactly, see above. Sounds familiar don't it?

Ivinski Borokove's picture
That^ is why I will not

That^ is why I will not "educate myself". I take religion more seriously than I would ever take that. And I'm a frigging anti-theist.

Kafei's picture
@Xavier de Forres

@Xavier de Forres
"That^ is why I will not "educate myself". I take religion more seriously than I would ever take that. And I'm a frigging anti-theist."

What is that which you are pointing to? Nyarlathotep's statement is a common criticism that has been addressed over and over.

Kafei's picture
The amount varies because

The amount varies because humans are complex. There's many factors involved here, such as ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion). Obviously, there's no fixed "heroic dose," it's going to be relative to each individual. You mentioned the 2-10 gram range, and I'm assuming you're referring to dried weight. This is not a "No True Scotsman" fallacy, as you attempted to point out, as though, "Oh, you didn't have a mystical experience? Then, you didn't take enough." It doesn't work that way. If you take enough of an amount relative to your individual weight, tolerance, etc., these substances will deliver on the money. The experience which they elicit is universal. Sure, McKenna used the metaphor "machine elves" to describe his experience, but nevertheless everyone who's had the full-blown mystical experience will experience hallucinatory fractal patterns, and these geometric patterns are often interpreted in a myriad of ways, but nevertheless, they are always presented as fractals whether you're going to call it mandalic, kaleidoscopic, fractal machine elves, or a lotus pattern. These are simply different ways of describing essentially the same thing, and that's what people overlook.

By the way, even your suggestion of 10 dried grams isn't enough for say alcoholics. Alcoholics have ravaged their synapses, and so for them to engage such an experience sometimes requires between the 20 to 30 dried gram amount in order to elicit such an experience. Caffeine can also ravage the serotonergic receptor sites which psychedelics effect. So, that's why it's recommended to fast prior to the experience, to come to a state of equilibrium so that these substances can have their optimum effect.

Ivinski Borokove's picture
"Substances"

"Substances"

Don't you mean "Drugs by any other name"?

Kafei's picture
"Drugs" is an umbrella term.

"Drugs" is an umbrella term. It's a catch-all term. There's many things we can call drugs, including the hormones and neurotransmitters that your own brain produces, along with all the pharmaceuticals people use everyday to stay healthy, etc. What I'm talking about is a very narrow family of tryptamines that share a close affinity to what's already inside you: N,N-DMT.

Ivinski Borokove's picture
Wcording to Russian

Acording to Russian legislature, tryptamines are classified as illigal substances when used without nessesity. Therefore, no thank you.

Kafei's picture
Well, that's 'cause you're

Well, that's 'cause you're Russian. Travel to Peru where these things are legal and given out to tourists. There's a reason your Russian government would rather you not try psychedelics, and that's because they wish to keep you close-minded, asleep, unenlightened, etc.

Why do you think that a substance that your own brain produces (DMT) is illegal? Why is it that all the items at your local grocery store, and the fluoride in your very tap water calcify and destroy the very gland in your brain that produces DMT? Coincidence? I'm sure your government's motives are pure.

Ivinski Borokove's picture
In the Russian Air Force, I

In the Russian Air Force, I was told three things.

1. If it looks like bullshit, it is.
2. If it is bullshit, don't trust it.
3. If you can't trust it, fight it with every ounce of strength you have.

You've also devolved to personal attacks against my country. A child's tactic.

Kafei's picture
I wasn't referring to your

I wasn't referring to your country in particular. The same could be said of every country that has made these particular substances illegal despite the fact that your own brain produces 'em naturally. You've failed to point out how this is "bullshit." As I've pointed out in the original post, this stuff is backed in peer-reviewed scientific research that has been published in the Scientific Journal of Psychopharmacology. So, to announce it "bullshit" would be bullshit within itself on your part, unless you could prove somehow that this shouldn't have been published. I'd say you'd have an uphill battle attempting to do so.

Ivinski Borokove's picture
"Mystical" never goes with

"Mystical" never goes with science. That's like saying religion goes perfectly with reason.

Kafei's picture
That's why you should inform

That's why you should inform yourself before judging what's going on here. There's a reason the term "mystical experience" was adopted into this scientific study, and it's definitely not for the reasons you might be assuming. I imagine you see the term "mystical," and assume this has something to do with the supernatural, magic or metaphysical transcendence of some sort. Well, it doesn't. It's a completely natural altered state of consciousness which is being scientifically investigated, and I offer an explanation as why the term was chosen for the study, but it's quite obvious that you didn't read my post thoroughly. At best, I'd bet you only lightly skimmed through it. Otherwise, you would've realized your post here had already been addressed.

Ivinski Borokove's picture
"a completely natural altered

"a completely natural altered state of consciousness"

That's even worse on the bullshit scale.

Kafei's picture
There's absolutely no

There's absolutely no bullshit involved here. What we have is real scientific work that's being done, and research results with vast implications on how we view religion, consciousness, etc. The experience can happen naturally, and that's precisely what these studies have shown. The mystical experience, as I explained to Tracie (to which she agreed), needn't necessarily the psychedelic to occur. It can happen to anyone of us, and you don't have to be of a particular religion to experience it. It can come about naturally either spontaneously, and Alan Watts has referred to this occurrence as a "natural satori," or it can come about through techniques to induce mystical experience such as extreme asceticism or deep meditation, it is also speculated to occur in the near-death experience, etc.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Kafei - "There's a reason

Kafei - "Why is it that all the items at your local grocery store, and the fluoride in your very tap water calcify and destroy the very gland in your brain that produces DMT?"

1 point for using phrase "close minded" again.
5 points for Russian conspiracy about drugs.
10 points for fluoride conspiracy.
25 points for saying that ALL the items at the grocery store destroy your pineal(?) gland! Even the distilled water and wooden spoons apparently!

Kafei's picture
You'd actually be surprised,

You'd actually be surprised, my friend. Fluoride isn't simply in the tap water, it is in your "distilled water." Notice how those bottles say, "With added minerals." You'll rarely ever find a bottle that claims "purified water." Same goes for the orange juice, tea, soda, canned foods, etc. There's a fine line between an actual conspiracy and a conspiracy theory.

Ivinski Borokove's picture
The line is: Conspiracy

The line is: Conspiracy theory's exist. Actual conspiracy's? Not so much. I suppose you think we Russians actually collect the remains of alien space ships to.

Kafei's picture
Conspiracies exist whether

Conspiracies exist whether you believe it or not. You may not believe it to be happening in your own country, but I think you give your country too much credit. They nevertheless still exist. No, I'm not talking about alien spaceships. I'm talking about stuff which you can actually Google and inform yourself about, not some extraterrestrial nonsense that you'd have no way of confirming. What I'm presenting to you is not "my information," but information that is available for you to verify for yourself.

Ivinski Borokove's picture
You do realize that I've

You do realize that I've known about the fluoride conspiracy theory for ages. You do realize the progenitor of the idea was a paranoid CIA operative on the run from the U.S, right?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Kafei - "Fluoride isn't

Kafei - "Fluoride isn't simply in the tap water, it is in your distilled water."

50 points for saying distilled water contains fluoride
-----------------------
Kafei - "Notice how those bottles[distilled] say, 'With added minerals.'"

25 points for saying distilled water has added minerals.

Kafei's picture
@Xavier, it was actually

@Xavier, it was actually Freud's nephew that implemented the use of fluoride in tap water.

@Nyarlathotep, my point being is that you can't believe everything you hear and see now, can you? Sure, if it's distilled by some private business, I might believe it has less impurities. However, the major companies like Dasani, Aquafina, Deja Blu, etc. try some of those so-called "distilled water bottles," and let me know how "pure" they taste. I don't believe this is so far-fetched. Sure, I admit that I was influenced by Terence McKenna, and I may have even borrowed some of his vocabulary. Otherwise, I don't think you would've noticed the impression, but you did. But I still maintain (a phrase Terence used) that the view of Perennial philosophy isn't so far-fetched. I mean, if I were someone like this person, for example:

http://www.tenthdimension.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2016

This person was obviously was influenced by Terence McKenna (just look at the use of novelty), although he doesn't admit it. Now, he's spouting some fairly outlandish claims. What I've presented here isn't so far-fetched. I'd like to hear why you disagree with it instead of these silly posts of "Oh, here, you get 10 points for this, 50 points for that." Why don't you give me a real criticism and I'll give you 100 points?

Ivinski Borokove's picture
You misunderstand. I was

You misunderstand. I was talking about the person who started the CONSPIRACY THEORY, not the person who implemented the use of fluoride.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Kafei - "However, the major

Kafei - "However, the major companies like Dasani, Aquafina, Deja Blu, etc. try some of those so-called 'distilled water bottles,'"

As far as I can tell (I could be wrong):
Dasani does not sell distilled water
Aquafina does not sell distilled water
Deja Blu does not sell distilled water

So I'm going to have to give you another 30 points.

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