Sunday, January 30, 2005

Entire universe is contained in the mind and spirit

Dr. Ecstasy: "When Shulgin had his first psychedelic experience in 1960, he was a young U.C. Berkeley biochemistry Ph.D. working at Dow Chemical. He had already been interested for several years in the chemistry of mescaline, the active ingredient in peyote, when one spring day a few friends offered to keep an eye on him while he tried it himself. He spent the afternoon enraptured by his surroundings. Most important, he later wrote, he realized that everything he saw and thought ''had been brought about by a fraction of a gram of a white solid, but that in no way whatsoever could it be argued that these memories had been contained within the white solid. . . . I understood that our entire universe is contained in the mind and the spirit. We may choose not to find access to it, we may even deny its existence, but it is indeed there inside us, and there are chemicals that can catalyze its availability.''"

Epistemological doubts concerning validity of insights obtained in meditation and other "altered" states are echoed in this quote concerning use of Ecstasy:

"Steven Hyman, professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, put it this way: ''If you asked me to place a bet, I would be skeptical. In general, one worries that insights gained under states of disinhibition or mild euphoria or different cognitive states with illusions may seem strange and distant from the vantage of our ordinary life.''"

Yes, these insights can seem strange and distant, when they are not integrated properly into one's life, which is why meditation, yoga, entheogen use, etc. have no real impact when they are not realized in context of a serious spiritual or religious practice.

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