The Liminalist # 149.5: The Best of Pursuits and the Worst of Idols (with Charles Upton)

Part two of conversation with Charles Upton, on intellectual error & moral error, reigning in hell, virtual intellection, a collective psyche blown open, a new lease on atheism, drawn to phenomenology, esoteric Greek knowledge of unity, the end of Catholicism and the arrival of psychedelics, a world of spooks, religious revival, a utilitarian religion, agents of pseudo-initiation, Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules, the Goddess of reason, the robot of rationality, the concept of an evolving God, the lens of a world of change, the monolithic view of eternity, the ongoing self-manifestation of God, the best of pursuits and the worst of idols, turning Allah into Lucifer, converting to Islam, social justice liberation theology, entering the New Age, Sufi dancing with Samuel Lewis, repressing misgivings, the covenants of the prophet Mohammed, the sorcery path, the threshold of God’s house, a sense of longing, intuiting something beyond Hell, Jenny Upton’s religious path, Malachi Martin, the metaphysical transparency of phenomena/dogma, the Trinity, Brideshead Revisited, flaws in the transcription of transmission, Christian paradoxes, the problem of Hell, the difference between perpetual and eternal, God’s gift of free will, choosing to burn, the furthest distance from God, C.S Lewis and The Screwtape Letters, resisting God’s love, divine discontent, the desire to leave earth, letter from a prisoner, astral projection & lucid dreaming, trying to land, seeking incarnation, finding transcendence through immanence, an anti-Christian doctrine, getting Christianity existentially, theurgy & occultism, Western ceremonial magic, occultism as rebellion, a schism in the church, the Hermetic tradition, renaissance magic, Platonic wisdom, Augustin, & Aquinas, the negative identity of religion, Crowley’s rebellion, Dante’s inferno, Fedeli d’Amore, the 3rd order of the Templars, creating modern Italian, the lost cantos of Paradiso, undoing knots with writing.

Charles Upton’s site.

Accompanying Blog-post: Traditional Metaphysics and the True Religious: Encountering Charles Upton

Songs: “I’m Going Insane,” “15 Bistro 2” by Lee Maddeford; “Ladder” by Sasha Miskin; “Fake Out Jesus” by the Blacks.

50 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 149.5: The Best of Pursuits and the Worst of Idols (with Charles Upton)

  1. SJW to Islam. Before it was cool.

    Interesting how he mentions Allah being Lucifer these days. I seem to remember Steiner saying that if the “religion of Arabia” were to spread “at the close of the century” it would be a victory for the dark aspect of the sun’s being. Sorat and his ilk. A time when we would only connect to the sun as a gas-ball in space and not as something holy. I think it’s from “Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse” – and to paraphrase Peterson, “I think it’s true, but I don’t know what that means.”

    A nice surprise witness in Jennifer. Feel free to invite her on to chat about “The Ordeal of Mercy.”

  2. Herein lies information but only the whisper of wisdom. Christianity under observation, particularly Roman Catholicism. Charles appears to be holidaying in religion whilst Jasun is the beggar at the door wanting only a drink of cold water. Intelligence is largely the problem for it does not easily or willingly kneel in submission, it is loyal to its demigod ego at almost any cost. To find the right key to open the lock of grace to enable transformation beckons with each breath: many are called but few are chosen. Time is running out. Charles is right to highlight the positioning of LSD parallel to Vatican 11. I think one should roll back to Vatican 1 too to obtain the best octane in this theological race. That said, Averroes’ and Avicenna’s ‘Unicity of the Intellect’ or ‘Monopsychism’ philosophy, an essential key to the passing from time to no-time successfully, still stands refuted by Aquinas. As we increasingly blow up intellectually like a balloon we know one day the balloon has to burst. When it does it is beneficial to be prepared and such preparation is most notably found in the meek and humble. Gurdjieff wrote of Jesus coming back in a UFO to help on board those still thrashing about in the giant waves of life’s unforgiving seas.

    • what an icky comment :/

      Charles comes perhaps as close to a positive modeling of discerning religious faith as I’ve encountered in 50 years.

      • There is no unpleasantness intended in my comment at all. I am sure Charles would agree. The philosophical and theological terrain covered points to the deepest level of intellectual and religious beauty and concern. Dante’s positioning of Averroes in the same realm of heaven as Aquinas, as subtle a description of divinity as is likely to be found in the entire realm of earthly literature. You may have missed the point. 🙂

        • “Herein lies information but only the whisper of wisdom. Christianity under observation, particularly Roman Catholicism. Charles appears to be holidaying in religion whilst Jasun is the beggar at the door wanting only a drink of cold water. Intelligence is largely the problem for it does not easily or willingly kneel in submission, it is loyal to its demigod ego at almost any cost.”

          It’s my Christian duty to inform you this comes across as religious superciliousness and the patronizing disdain of a spiritualized super-ego. I think you missed the point of this podcast.

          • No. I don’t think I did. What was there to miss but perhaps your uncomfortable doubt that you might ever find Christians to like. The superego is a central practical and ethical philosophical tenet of Christianity or any similar methodology. You disturb the integrity and importance of Faith by crushing it under psychological or religious ill-feeling. Hardly a matter to fall out about though, more an opportunity for honesty which is a foremost Christian duty. We are all failed or failing Christians at heart, and as such, all in the same boat that only divine understanding permits to proceed. At the risk of saying too much or too little, I apologise for any umbrage taken. That said, the underlying message in the podcast itself was in my opinion not deeply invedtigative enough. One question, if I may, are you a baptised Christian?

          • My response-reaction is partly, but not wholly, due to the uneasy recall of your past sharings at this site, which included recommendations that I see an exorcist and accusations of trickery, deception and concealment which you later realized has been some sort of hallucination on your part. Certainly you are doing a good job of validating my belief that Christians are not the kind of folk I want to fraternize with. As a point of comparison, Theodore Dalrymple (see recent podcast) avows to hold no religious belief whatsoever and yet I would say he embodies Christian values (such as humility) far more than most self-avowed “Christians” do. Is there anything more spiritually prideful than a religious person who admonishes a striving to understand God by asking necessary questions as lacking humility?

            Tend to the beam in your own eye, brudder. 😉

          • I agree with your description of Theodore Dalrymple, a very fine mind and man, but one more than likely brought up in a Christian milieu, whether or not he holds to such a history and influence now. Past sharings on this site have indeed brought forth suggestions on my part as to your spiritual welfare such as the need for possible exorcism. It is rather unfair of you to not see the possibility of exorcism in the context of what you were confessing to at the time; the practising of sorcery being the pivotal point for my charitable concern. Your Luciferic insight and associated philosophical speculation combined with a dislike of Christianity led me to consider the worst but I corrected my misunderstanding once I realised you were being either playfully or purposefully Gnostic. Either way, your hallucinogenic and Shamanic past propelled, I concluded, your sense of knowing and understanding to the usual guru-like and demigod-like status well-known and established in spiritual circles, and also to some degree, perhaps significant paranormal awareness. I am very pleased you are more Christianised now but is is only a phase? I suspect it might be for such is the nature of love and mystery, as you seem to not show any respect or attention to Christianity’s sacramental power and thereby salvific purpose. Voltaire comes to mind. I understand why you would not or could not endure the friendship or perhaps even the company of Christians and that you include me in such a landscape. So it goes. On the matter of a possible aural hallucination on my part regarding what I understood to be a lack of respect for certain types of visitors to this, your usually excellent site; I know what I heard before it was edited out! I realised your embarrassment and sought a way to relieve you of the accompanying shame in as Christian a manner as possible. This, by necessity, demanded I provide you with a way out and a means of saving face. This I did by raising the remote possibility that I was hearing things. Haha. 🙂 Whatever, you remain a significant thinker and charming man. I wish you well with your further and ongoing spiritual journey and indicated as much in my previous reply by summoning Dante, Averroes and Aquinas for your attention; they make very profound friends, Christian or not. Peace be with you.

  3. response to the above:

    On the matter of a possible aural hallucination on my part regarding what I understood to be a lack of respect for certain types of visitors to this, your usually excellent site; I know what I heard before it was edited out! I realised your embarrassment and sought a way to relieve you of the accompanying shame in as Christian a manner as possible. This, by necessity, demanded I provide you with a way out and a means of saving face. This I did by raising the remote possibility that I was hearing things. Haha.

    Nothing was edited out. You are, in this regard at least, displaying delusional traits, and this makes interacting with you precarious at best.

    My sense is that you display a common characteristic of Catholics, that putting of fear of Hell before love of God and hence see your fellows as souls to be saved, rather than loved and learned from/with. It’s tiresome and counterproductive, as this exchange must surely illustrate.

    If you wish to draw people towards that which you value most, surely the best way is not to preach but to practice it? Preaching teds to have the opposite result, as now.

  4. Hey Sweet man i was born and bred a Catholic and am a recovering sorcerer , and i dont like you either ! Your overweening pride and patronage shines like a blinding beacon , that if i was to sail my ship towards, would surely see me wrecked. Chris Hedges is a holy man and he has written a very instructive book called “Christian Fascsim” . Lucifer is capable of counterfeiting just about anything . Like Jasun , i am struggling to find a path back to God that doesnt involve hanging out with assholes playing christian who are all really ( 3rd rate ) sorcerers anyhow.
    I have been sitting here at night listening to various music of Islamic calls to prayer , while i recite to myself the Christian Lords prayer. This feels tremendously calming to me .

    I have been studying the War on Terror at university and i realised that we are all living in a magician state anyhow , and Charles alludes to this when he describes how the psyche has been rent asunder and the world filled with ‘Spooks’ . The world is filled with sorcerers , no doubt there is great evil abroad in the land and i think men and women like Jasun and Charles are Constantine type characters still covered with the scars of their demon tattooes , capable of leading others out of the Underworld, Orphean players of Lyre , aiming at redemption.

    Such people are equipped with automatic demon detectors , greatly skilled at identifying counterfeit , having been to the academy themselves , and of much use to our troubled societies , goose stepping furiously on its path to damnation. They work for the Angels now who are desperately trying to send the herd the right way , though i wouldnt mess with em.

  5. Charles Upton’s point that the arrival of psychdelics into Western culture represents the collapse of monotheism and return of “polytheism” is biased, very subjective and also a completely wrong point of departure on the topic. First, the West did not discover entheogens/psychdelics and bring it into universal consciousness. Instead it appropriated it and trivialized it. Second, and this leads to the following: Upton is extrapolating from his own experience of hippy culture in North America during the 1960s and unversalizing it. This is a fallacy.

    • extrapolating from our own experiences is a fallacy? I am not sure he is universalizing it as using it to make a larger point.

      • Extrapolating from personal experience and making this a general rule is indeed a fallacy. In fact it is one of the most common and leads to positing erroneous causalities that are termed the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc ( “after this, therefore because of this”).

  6. It CAN be a fallacy; but it by no means always is. Isn’t the notion that the scientific method is the only or even best criteria for arriving at truth itself an article of faith, one that requires extrapolation from personal experience to make a general rule?

    • Jasun, scientific methodology and logic are related but not necessarily the same thing. In fact logic as a system (esp. in Aristotle and his intellectual heirs) was before contemporary times always about the divisions and demarcations of the categories of metaphysics. That aside, I am not an advocate of modern positivist scientism. Far, far from it, in fact. However, Charles Upton’s statements about psychedelics/entheogens being responsible for some kind of postmodern polytheism — an issue which I have been debating him on for over a decade now — are demonstrably false and can easily be proven to be so. It is also a culturally and religiously triumphalist point of view that deprecates First World Indigenous Traditions as well as Traditions like Taoism, the Aghori of India, the Sufi Qalandars of Iran and the Sub-Continent and the ancient Zoroastrians who have revered plants as sacraments and portals and agents of gnosis. Because Western Anglo-American hippies latched on to psychdelics/entheogenic plants is not an argument against them, and the reasons adduced by Charles Upton are subjective to him — and his personal historical and cultural situation as a North American from that generation — but not a universal rule.

      • If you have been debating it with Charles for a decade, then you must be a lot more familiar with his arguments than I; apparently you haven’t persuaded Charles, however, which throws into question just how easily proven your argument is. To prove something means to persuade others to agree, essentially; what other criteria is there?

        His idea that psychedelics helped bring about a polytheistic revival in the West is fairly new to me so I am not really committed to it either way. I don’t quite see how the history of psychedelic use elsewhere impacts that thesis however, if Charles is talking about the West and specifically, the promotion & appliance of psychedelics by intelligence agencies.

        Where I agree with Charles categorically is in his deductions about the negative effects of psychedelics on the nervous system and “subtle bodies.” And here I would say that personal experience can certainly be used to deduce a general truth. But neither does this necessarily apply to the use of psychedelics by other cultures in different set and settings, since it’s possible there are practices designed to minimize or counteract those negative effects which we are unaware of.

        • Jason, Charles’ point of departure is a Guenonian one that Mircea Eliade echoed (but later retracted) in his *Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy*. Basically, the Guenonian-Eliadean fallacy holds that entheogenic plant usage by a given Tradition is evidence of spiritual decadence and corruption in that given Tradition. The Zoroastrians and their Vedic cousins would beg to differ as would the Chinese Taoists, not to mention the Aghoris, the Sufi Qalandars and the entire gamut of First World Indigenous Traditions. In my view, such a view is a Christianized bias (universalized into a rule by the Neo-Trads) that is not remotely true or applicable to other Traditions. It is also a counter-intuitively dualistic point of view that seeks to remove the presence of the Pure Spirit from the natural world.

          The “polytheistic revival” in the West, if it can be called that, has an older locus which has little to do with entheogenic plants or psychedelics and is based on those reasons that people such as Nietzsche and Evola have already articulated, i.e. the corruption of the Church and its heavy handed authoritarianism whereby a Western sub-culture emerged from pretty much the end of the Renaissance nostalgically (albeit quite naively) rejecting Christianity as a whole and looking back to pre-Christian Europe as some kind of Eden (which it never was). It was Terence McKenna who attempted to claim entheogens for some “Archaic Revival.” But that is because he did not have much knowledge of Traditions as far flung as Sufism, Kashmiri Shaivism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism which have revered plants on the same level as Amerindians in the Amazon do. Also, the McKennas found a gimmick in this “Archaic Revival” business and ran with it. This, again, has more to do with the behaviors of Western alternative sub-cultures than the plants themselves.

          Now, cultures who hold entheogenic plants as sacraments which initiate people towards the Spirit are also cultures who hold a sophisticated understanding regarding all of the pitfalls involved in venturing out of the realm of mundane consciousness into the Beyond; and these cultures also simultaneously hold a vast arsenal of tools at their disposal in which they use in tandem with the plants, hence why magic or white sorcery/theurgy is so central to all of these abovementioned cultures. This is why these plant sacraments are neither treated frivolously by them and why these Traditions do not go to simply “trip” or “party” with the plants: they seek the Spirit with them and they rigorously prepare themselves beforehand and overall maintain a consistent attitude of reverence towards them.

          In the West, on the other hand, when a plant or entheogen is approached without the kind of respect or reverence (let alone preparation) you find elsewhere, and where a *utilitarian instrumentalist* point of view (an overall perspective that plagues the modern Western mentality in virtually all domains) about it then that is how the Spirit is going to interact with you from where you are situated culturally and ideationally: within a utilitarian-instrumentalist paradigm or purgatory. To put it another way, if the culture is demonic and people approach the Spirit (even when unbeknownst to themselves) demonically then the Spirit in such states of consciousness will treat you from the very situs in which you relate to It. In other words, the problem is the culture — and the Egregore which the culture represents and which possesses on a collective level — and never the plants.

  7. That ^^^ all sounds reasonable enough to me; I don’t have the knowledge base about this that you appear to have; do you have direct experience of these other cultures?

    And, if it’s not too taxing a question, which part is Upton disagreeing about?

    • Yes, I do have experience of these spiritual cultures. Upton’s proposition about postmodern “polytheism” having its locus in psychedelics is the one I fundamentally disagree with.

      • Does that mean you think it would have come about in the same way without the influence of psychedelics?

        It’s still not clear where the disagreement is, unless Upton is arguing a) that psychedelics by their very nature cause postmodern polytheism; or b) that psychedelics are *exclusively* responsible for PP in the West.

        AFAIK he doesn’t argue either point.

        • It goes without saying that things would have come about the same way without the influence of entheogens. Psychedelics haven’t been responsible nor have had any causal influence for the broken ontology of Western modernism. In fact psychedelics/entheogens have played no part in what the Cree Indians call the civilization of Wetiko (the cannibalizing demon that cannibalizes everything in its path by making everyone and everything it touches into cannibals). This is a function of the warped, inverted ontology behind capitalism and (post-)modernism with its utilitarian-instrumentalist perspective on things which percieves the world as dead to be manipulated at will. This postmodern “polytheism” is a consequence of this with psychdelics/entheogens playing no part whatsoever. So given this, Upton’s point is a straw man. The culprit is something entirely different.

  8. You entirely lost me with “it goes without saying,” followed by a statement of faith, or dogma, based neither in any kind of evidence nor even argument.

    I am baffled you would even take such a position. It goes without saying that a substance or category of substances powerful enough to induce mystical experiences, if misused, would have correspondingly profound negative consequences.

    The attempt to separate a deviant/deviated movement from one of the principle tools employed in implementing it is futile at best, disingenuous at worst.

    You seem to see psychedelics as numinous entities that are ipso facto blameless regardless of how they are applied.

    • How is it a statement of faith to point out the blatantly obvious that the materialist (intrumentalist-utilitarian) pespective of Western (post)modernity is responsible for the world around us and not plants? That it is (post)modern (wo)man who is warped and not plants? For all the reasons explained, the disengenuity here is to blame the tool and not the *user* with the cultural and ideational baggage the user already brings to the proverbial party. Plants are neutral; those who employ them may or may not be; and herein is the logical fallacy (as well as the disengenuity and absurdity) when attributing causality of what ails contemporary (post)modern (wo)man on plants.

      • That’s another non-argument; tell Socrates that Hemlock is “neutral.”

        You seem to equate identifying inherent properties in plants with moral judgment of their character. 😀

        no wonder you’ve got all of nowhere in 10 years arguing with Upton.

        • Jasun, I don’t think you understand the argument at all, let alone to call mine a non-argument. You and Upton — and Upton based on his own experience as a hippy in North America during the 1960s-70s and yours as a quasi-Thelemite — are making subjective value judgements about plants (then extrapolating from your subjective experience and making it a universal rule) without any evidence. This is a fallacy. The arguments presented are demonstrably false and have proven to be so time and again. In fact, the species of argumentation here is the non-argument of Christian fundamentalists. Now, I haven’t gotten anywhere with Upton on this question because Upton refuses to come up with a valid counter-argument to what I have presented and he just keeps repeating himself over and over again.

          • For those still reading along, this is a case of what I would call ideological blindness.

            I see no point in continuing to discuss this because my perception is that you aren’t actually saying anything, or at least nothing cogent.

            Not meaning to get the last word in either, only to make it clear why I have nothing further to add. Go in peace.

          • Anyone who follows the conversation will know who said what and what is what. The Peace of the All-High and His Light be upon those who follow the illuminations of the guidance!

      • Can the effects of the natural world upon human history really be regarded as secondary to culture? What of the great plagues, droughts and infestations? For example would European culture have entered its colonial phase were it not for the Black Death?

        Also what of the use of drugs and diseases as weapons of war, as exploited by the British in their conquest of China and North America respectively? Would the Spanish have succeeded in conquering Mexico had it not been for unintentional effect of small pox on the native population?

        Isn’t the introduction and dissemination of hallucinogens among Western youth an example of war by a government against its own people?

        How can one separate out the will of the individual from the broader struggle for power and survival that exists within human societies, and the natural world in general?

        • The effects of the natural world are NOT secondary to culture. But to insinutae a deliberately sinister teleology upon nature is both counter-intuitive and a fallacy. It is also one of the worst forms of ontological dualism perpetrated by fundamentalist religious exoteric thinking, a trap many Guenonian Neo-Traditionaists keeping falling into, not to mention that it is a completely exoteric Western Christian conception of the world. Be that as it may, psychoactive plants do not cause draughts, plagues or infestations. There is no mappable causal nexus between them. So right off the bat, to make that equation between psychoactive plants and natural disasters is to commit a category error.

          Nor are “drugs” and “poisons” the same thing as psychoactive plants. The weaponization of “drugs” and “poisons” for example by the British (or the CIA in black neighborhoods in LA during the 1960s-1980s) is a completely different phenomena and different discussion altogether than what psychoactive plants represent. Jonathon Ott, IIRC, has a paper on this issue and the German ethnobotanist Christian Rätsch briefly touches on it in his Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants (New York: 2004). I refer you them.

          “Isn’t the introduction and dissemination of hallucinogens among Western youth an example of war by a government against its own people?”

          No, they didn’t. Contrary to recieved opinion, the active alkaloid in LSD was not first discovered by Albert Hofmann. The argument the conspircists hold lays on this point. Lysergic acid diethylamide exists in ergot which is found in wheat. In fact, there is a body of evidence showing that the Salem Witch trials of 17th century Massachusetts was as a consequence of mass hysteria by Puritans after ingesting ergot in their bread. In certain climates and certain times of the year, ergot qua Lysergic acid diethylamide appears to spontaneously appear and there appears to be evidence of this for centuries. Was this a government conspiracy, especially since there was no leviathan government in the Masschussetsas colony of the time during the Salem witch trials? The Peyote and San Pedro cactuses have been at the basis of south-west US, northern Mexican and Peruvian religions long, long before the Conquistadores or Carlos Castanada were even a spark in their daddies eyes. Same with psilocybin mushrooms which even the Taosists of China are known to hold sacred since there are countless Taoist murals in Taoist temples showing Taosist masters riding upon them. In fact, there is a school of thought that the various styles of the Kung Fu martial arts emerged as a result of Taoist masters contemplating animals while on psilocybin mushrooms. This would also suggest that Tai Chi itself, which is the basis of Kung Fu, emerged the same way. Ayahuasca was reported by Spanish explorers of the Amazon during the 17th century, and at that point they were claiming that the Amerindians had claimed distant antiquity for their sacrament. The examples can be multiplied and throughout the world.

          The struggle for power is a human trait. Nature does not struggle for “power,” nor does it need to acquire “power” since its inherently posseses it. Nature, when it struggles, struggles for survival; and this distinction is so fine and yet so crucial that it is literally the difference between heaven and hell.

          • I think some wires got crossed in this debate; are you claiming that, because of the alleged sacredness of psychedelic plants, they cannot be used as tools for mind control or self-traumatization, that they cannot lead, and never have led, to delusion, madness, dissociation, self-destruction, and serious damage to the nervous system?

            Because that’s all I am stating here, coupled with the ample evidence that these substances have been used deliberately on people – and “sold” to entire generations – to bring about these negative consequences.

            I have already stated that none of this proves that these substances are harmful unto themselves any more than hemlock is harmful – until someone ingests it in an incautious amount or fashion.

            The distinction between drugs, poisons, and psychedelics is merely a semantic one, unless you have some evidence for a “spirit molecule.”

            On a personal note, your constant assertion that anyone who disagrees with you is upholding a “fallacy” is unnecessarily disagreeable, unconsciously designed to increase polarization and deter people from talking with you (or me at any rate). Simply stated, you come off like a pompous ass.

          • “I think some wires got crossed in this debate; are you claiming that, because of the alleged sacredness of psychedelic plants, they cannot be used as tools for mind control or self-traumatization, that they cannot lead, and never have led, to delusion, madness, dissociation, self-destruction, and serious damage to the nervous system?”

            No, I am not saying that at all. Of course it can; and I have spent over a decade publicly denouncing corrupt and pseudo-shamans all over the place who abuse people and the plants. But which has created the real havoc on the mass level and made human drones of mass populations? Psychedelic plants or pharmaceutical drugs? The point that popular conspirology has latched on to saying that psychdelic plants are tools of social engineering by governments against their own populations is false, it is an insidious argument, and the evidence for it is a mirage. To take that argument up a notch to the metaphysical level and maintain that these plants are the devil’s tool, is even worse. MKULTRA is not a conspiracy to give Ayahuasca, cannabis or mushrooms to populations in order to control them because it is simply not in the nature of these plants — or what shamans call the “plant spirit” — to control populations. Try the corporate pharmaceutical industry and its pharmacopeia instead.

            A point or issue rises or falls on the evidence and its reasoning. QED

          • I see no need to make it an either/or question (big bad pharma or unethically/irresponsibly promoted psychedelics). The claim that psychedelic use has NOT be promoted by government and intelligence agencies is a wild one, to put it mildly. Are you claiming that all the literature on the subject (Acid Dreams, Storming Heaven) and all the evidence of Wasson, Leary, Castaneda, McKenna and other players being supported/recruited by CIA & Rockefellers is a “mirage,” maliciously fabricated in a conspiracy to blacken the names of these sacred plants? That would require an equally large body of counter-evidence, not about the right use of psychedelics, but about how this information has been fabricated.

            That Western culture (i,e., mass media) has been promoting psychedelics from the 60s to date is undeniable. And that there are vast swathes of casualties from the resultant misuse of these substances to this day is likewise undeniable. I have met dozens of them myself, and even see myself as one, to some degree at least. If misguiding generations into the hands of “corrupt and pseudo-shamans,” and into misapplying these substances in such a way that they will be permanently damaged by their experiences, isn’t controlling a population, what is it exactly?

          • Jason, you said:

            “The claim that psychedelic use has NOT be promoted by government and intelligence agencies is a wild one, to put it mildly. Are you claiming that all the literature on the subject (Acid Dreams, Storming Heaven) and all the evidence of Wasson, Leary, Castaneda, McKenna and other players being supported/recruited by CIA & Rockefellers is a “mirage,” maliciously fabricated in a conspiracy to blacken the names of these sacred plants?”

            What is the evidence that Leary, Castaneda and McKenna were recruited by the CIA? What is the evidence that the publishers of their books were connected to Rockefeller money or the CIA? This is conjecture and not established fact. Wasson is the exception but he was made persona non grata soon after by the very same establishment that initially took interest in his research. Luckily the man was independently wealthy and could afford to fund his own projects beyond any establishment patronage. Timothy Leary lost his job at Harvard (one of the few cases of a fully tenured faculty at Harvard getting fired) due to the Concord Prison and the Marsh Chapel experiments, and was subsequently demonized by the US media all the way to his death in 1996. McKenna, per his own testimony in *True Hallucinations* and subsequent talks given during the 1980s, was literally blackmailed into cooperating with the FBI (not the CIA), albeit his untimely death in 2000 from a brain tumor remains quite suspicious to me (and I conjecture that if he was murdered it was due to his growning popularity and the rising popularity of the subculture he was speaking to). Carlos Castaneda was a pure opportunist and walked down the path he did simply because his academic career as an anthropologist at UCLA prior to it was going nowhere and he lusted after notoreity — not to mention money and women. But look at what happened to him during the 1980s and 1990s with all the scandals that suddenly cropped up out of nowhere around his group? McKenna, for his part, was not funded by Rockfeller money. In fact about a decade ago I looked deeply into the sources of McKenna’s funding for his “psychedelic farm” in Hawaii and did not find credible evidence of Rockefeller patronage. If you have more credible evidence, like evidence that will hold up in court, I’d like to see it because it would help tie loose ends of my own research from a decade ago.

            Now, my problem with these abovementioned individuals is for completely different reasons than yours. My problem with them is that they took psychedelic plants and made careers and gimmicks out of them and fed the capitalist market thereby, and in the process significantly cheapened and trivialized the whole thing. If the CIA or deep state was involved, it was here rather than anywhere else; and this is the real crux of the matter and not the plants-in-themselves. Furthermore, if these individuals were truly involved with their establishments on such an imputed sinister level than it was for purposes of appropriating and seizing control over indigenous plants, which then would make their function as agents of Western colonialism acting against the culture and traditional medicinal knowledge of an element of Global South peoples (esp. in the cases of psilocybin mushrooms and Ayahuasca).

            Now, while psychedelics are being unfairly demonized by the conspiracy culture, let us look at the evidence of something else that one can unassailably map out as being socially engineered to control populations on behalf of markets and establishments: *sex* and the active promotion of frivolous non-traditional attitudes towards it and with it the fragmentation and destruction of the traditional family. The Kinsey Reports did numbers in the domain of control and social engineering more than psychdelics could ever hope to do one hundred times over squared. But very few in the conspiracy culture ever touch on this sensitive question. Instead they go after the safer target of plants. So who is manipulating who now?

          • I didn’t insinuate a ‘sinister teleology’ upon nature, nor do I believe in one.

            “the active alkaloid in LSD was not first discovered by Albert Hofmann. The argument the conspircists hold lays on this point.” –

            This doesn’t seem to be a valid inference. The prior occurrence and usage of something is obviously different from its scientific identification and exploitation.

            “Was this a government conspiracy, especially since there was no leviathan government in the Masschussetsas colony of the time during the Salem witch trials?”

            That one historical event can be shown not to be the result of conspiratorial activity does not imply that another also was not.

            “The struggle for power is a human trait. Nature does not struggle for “power,” nor does it need to acquire “power” since its inherently posseses it”

            Nature itself does not struggle, it encompasses it. The struggle is endured by the entities that exist within it. Power develops in nature out of hunger and predation, sexual desire and reproduction. I don’t perceive this as being different from power in the human sphere.

            I should also add that your condescending tone is off putting. If you would like to debate these matters on their merits, then I would suggest doing so with more consideration.

  9. A fine philosophical and metaphysical ‘rumble in the jungle’. But, as you both slug it out, isn’t what you are actually debating, conscience: ‘that most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, whose voices echoes in his depths’

    In ‘Love and Responsibility’ Wojtyla’s (Jean Paul 11) describes the encounter with the other as the place in which the human person becomes aware of and fulfils herself. Whereas Sartre presents relations with others as inevitably oscillating between the mastery and slavery of the subject/object distinction, Wojtyla’s answer to this problem is ‘love’. He writes that existentialist freedom of the will does not rest on ‘truth in cognition’: true freedom is displayed in morality through duty governed by love.

    Which one of you is Sartre and which one Wojtyla?

  10. ‘Time up’! As Connor would say inimically in Terminator.
    Time up, to describe what the two of you are defending so vain gloriously and invoking a psychic skirmish. Identify yourselves, or, all is for nought. If this is beyond you both then you are not only misleading readers but also yourselves. Why all the hiding behind ditches and battlements? Jasun can’t withdraw without losing honour. Let rip boys and mean what you think and know. Much depends upon it.

  11. Regarding “evidence that will hold up in court”, one purpose of nested and layered cover operations is to make the derivation of such evidence impossible. When combined with the technology for implanted screen memories and personalties within people, it is naive to insist on such standards of evidence as the basis for determining the nature of reality.

    Courts can insist on such standards because they are a contrivance, so designed to produce outcomes that appeal to reason, at least superficially.

    Of course the retort to all of this is that without such standards we are prone to irrational presupposition and superstition, but that is a risk we must negotiate given the weight of cryptocratic power and influence we now live under.

    • Martin, and your kind of sweep of the hand without evidence and upon the bases of hypothetical and conjectural biases is why much of the conspiracy culture is looked upon as being composed of paranoid cranks. In fact, if one did not know better, one would surmise that perhaps it is this culture itself (and its various mouthpieces online) who are the ones really working for the establishment attempting through such sly underhanded methods to discredit the truth about a variety of things.

      • Well that doesn’t really answer any of my points.

        There is ample video, photographic and documentary evidence, as well as first hand witness testimony from insiders to corroborate this perspective should you wish to seek it out. If for a moment you can adopt my perspective on things, it should be self evident why I do not gather it all here on your behalf.

        It was extremely shocking for me to discover that many of the institutions that I had been conditioned to trust are essentially compromised by this apparatus. Nevertheless this is the honest conclusion that I have made based on the evidence I have examined.

        As for paranoid cranks, that all of this subject matter is mixed with disinformation and nonsense is a matter of course. If one is truly interested in reality rather than self affirmation it may be possible to discern one from the other. Not that I would deny that my perspective is without a good deal of conjecture, but that is the rational and honest approach when faced with incomplete but compelling evidence.

        Either way it would appear we are engaged in a circular argument.

        • The circular argument occurs because you are arguing from a culturally and geographically located, solipsistic point of view. Your assumption rests on the fallacy that the “compromised institutions” you are instancing (all which are mainly located in North America btw) are the only arbiters of this discussion, and because some of them are funding research into the plants, this may compromise the validity of the plants themseves and make them tools of some control conspiracy. This is a guilt by association argument and it is extremely weak and full of holes. My larger point is that these “compromised institutions” are the arbiters of their own interests, that they are attempting to appropriate the plants, thus making the argument that raises hubris about the plants themselves to be invalid, because there is a world beyond North America and Europe and the concerns of its elites to control these plants.

  12. It might be good idea to move this to the (currently inert) forum as this comments section is pretty user-nonfriendly, IMO https://forum.auticulture.com/

    Meanwhile I will answer the main points.

    My view of the harmful and hubristic nature of psychedelics is wholly non-dependent on evidence (which like Martin I consider substantial, despite the obvious problem of crappy research/disinfo in this field) of a government conspiracy or overarching social engineering agenda to promote them, see here for that: https://auticulture.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/the-serpents-promise/ (The discussion could also continue over here)

    That some of these figures were opportunists is in no way incompatible with them being useful tools for government. I don’t personally believe CC or McKenna were working exclusively, or even primarily, as CIA agents in doing what they were doing, I think they genuinely believed in it and also that they were genuinely onto something. In the same way I don’t see the 1960s counterculture as being wholly manufactured but as also being an inevitable organic up-surgence social, culture, and spiritual, that was partially seeded and partially anticipated as inevitable, then co-opted, and redirected, and that the manufacturing and/or introduction of psychedelics into that culture was a primary tool in that agenda.

    That some or even most of these figures were left high and dry or that the Establishment attempted to disassociate itself from them is, IMO, not a strong argument that they were genuinely subverting the goals of their handlers. It’s simply a case of recognizing the strategic viability of plausible denial: for these figures to be convincing as agents of subversion for the youth to turn to, their cover has to be complete. Please don’t mistake this for the argument that paucity of evidence = evidence of a cover-up, only that the reverse (i.e., your point) depends on a degree of naivete and is itself somewhat circular. John Mack lost his seat at Harvard while pushing the alien abduction narrative that has served as a decades long cover up for MKULTRA mind control. Does that prove, or even count as evidence, that alien abductions are real or that Mack wasn’t useful to the CIA & friends. No, because Mack’s dismissal did not decrease the impact of his testimonies, any more than Leary became less culturally significant – or edgy – by being jailed and demonized. If you want to see a sterling example of this methodology of cultural sanctification via revilement, look no further than Crowley.

    Like Upton, I see these plants as inherently dangerous, being inseparable from their power to shift people’s awareness and release massive amounts of unconscious psychic energy. They are daemonic spirits, not demonic, i.e, largely neutral, as you say, but in the same way that a poisonous snake is neutral – it isn’t out to get us but if we stumble blindly into its lair, it certainly will. And yes, poison can be medicine, and vice versa.

    Now, while psychedelics are being unfairly demonized by the conspiracy culture, let us look at the evidence of something else that one can unassailably map out as being socially engineered to control populations on behalf of markets and establishments: *sex*

    It’s apparent throughout this discussion that you aren’t familiar with my work, I literlaly just wrote a book about this. http://us.karnacbooks.com/product/the-vice-of-kings-how-socialism-occultism-and-the-sexual-revolution-engineered-a-culture-of-abuse/40232/

    On Kinsey: https://auticulture.wordpress.com/2015/12/25/child-abuse-as-sex-magick-sexual-research-aleister-crowley-alfred-kinsey-occult-yorkshire-14/

    Once again you create a fallacious either/or proposition. (You seem very hung up on accusing people of being stuck in a fallacy while exhibiting all the symptoms of the same, circular argumentation and strawman comparisons, etc. ) My research and conclusions around psychedelics are wholly compatible with and complementary to those around sexual “liberation” – not only is it not either/or, both of these are compelling examples of a single social engineering agenda, that of pseudo-awakening and psychic hacking as a means to debilitate a populace and redirect all that libidinal energy into inhuman/anti-human (satanic) goals.

    Here’s the chapt from VOK on Wasson: https://auticulture.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/the-gates-of-hell-mkultra-robert-graves-william-sargant-wassons-magic-mushroom-occult-yorkshire-10/

    • Jasun, you said:

      “My view of the harmful and hubristic nature of psychedelics is wholly non-dependent on evidence…”

      Which then makes your entire thesis, by your own admission, completely worthless because if you are incapable of adducing strong evidence for this sweeping claim, it is merely conjecture — and nothing else. Period, full-stop! Believe whatever else you wish. You cannot prove or support your position other than by a formulated bias against it. Unfortunately this appears to be the rule among 90% of the online conspiracy culture: a culture that also seems to be solipsistically trapped by arguing about anomalies only occuring in the experiences of Western middle-classes as if the world is only composed of Western middle-classes.

      Good to see you have tackled the so-called sexual revolution and Kinsey. However, attempting to make this jibe with your argument against entheogens, and within the extremely narrow parametres you are arguing from, is indeed a fallacy for the reasons already specified.

      Be well. I won’t be responding here again.

  13. As an ironic postscript to this debate, in his contorted efforts to advocate them, Wahid Azal has provided further evidence for the severity of cognitive-damage wrought by the use of psychedelics… : /

    • For those who may be left a bit baffled by what just happened, here is my opening sentence sans parenthesis: “My view of the harmful and hubristic nature of psychedelics is wholly non-dependent on evidence … of a government conspiracy or overarching social engineering agenda to promote them”

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