Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dualistic Universe Part 2 - Gnosis (yin) Edition.

The above from Robert Anton Wilson's "The Illuminati Papers"

Yin  -  Negative/passive/female principle in nature, symbolized by the moon…  overcast, shaded orientation ie:  north side of a hill or south bank of a river. Covert… feminine, concealed, hidden sinister, treacherous.

In part one of this series, we suggested that traditionally and throughout history, humans have maintained a notion that Manifest Universe demonstrates dynamic ebb and flow that is dichotomous in nature. Yin/yang, light/darkness, observer/observed, etc. The very act of being born into Universe requires the accommodation of dualism. In the second half of our examination of an apparent dualistic Universe, we will explore the covert properties of such.

In theology, dualism can refer to the relationship between God and creation. The Christian dualism of God and creation exists in some traditions of Christianity, like Paulicianism, Catharism, and Gnosticism. The Paulicians, a Byzantine Christian sect, believed that the universe, created through evil, exists separately from a moral God. The Dvaita Vedanta school of Indian philosophy also espouses a dualism between God and the universe. The first and the more important reality is that of Vishnu or Brahman. Vishnu is the supreme Self, God, the absolute truth of the universe, the independent reality. The second reality is that of a dependent, but equally real universe that exists with its own separate essence.

In Wicca, dualism is represented in the common Wiccan belief in a god and a goddess... a dual partnership in ruling the universe.

In ontological dualism, the world is divided into two overarching categories. The opposition and combination of the universe's two basic principles of yin and yang is a large part of Chinese philosophy, and is an important feature of Taoism, both as a philosophy and as a religion (it is also discussed in Confucianism).

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (dark-bright, negative-positive) describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces, may actually be interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. Moreover, they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another, in an eternal dance or balance. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang.

Duality is found in many belief systems, but yin and yang are complementary parts of  Oneness which is also equated with the Tao or the intuitive knowledge of the way of life. The term 'dualistic-monism' or dialectical monism has been coined in the West, in an attempt to express this fruitful paradox of simultaneous unity/duality. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

Dualism between God and Creation has existed as a central belief in multiple historical sects and traditions of Christianity, including Marcionism, Catharism, and Gnostic Christianity. Christian dualism refers to the belief that God and creation are distinct, but interrelated through an indivisible, divine bond. In specific sects like the Cathars, this manifests as a dualism between the material world, created by an “evil” and a “moral” god. Religious scholars have divided Christian dualism into absolute dualism, which held that the good and evil were equally powerful… and mitigated dualism, which held that material evil was subordinate to the spiritual good. 

Various Gnostic teachings indicate that humans possess a dualistic nature… that there are two separate yet integral aspects to humanity. One element is immortal being made of light ie: spirit or soul… and the other mortal darkness ie: flesh or materiality. Our spirit is of divine origin, emanating from the true God above Gods. It is an immortal light that descended from the heavens. In opposition to this light, the human body is inherently material, earthly and susceptible to darkness. It was made of mortal flesh ruled by a false, deranged creator God who holds dominion over those materialistic souls who have not reached spiritual knowledge or Gnosis.

In these examples, the dualism of Christianity can be somewhat compared with the dualism that exists in Zoroastrianism and the Samkhya tradition of Hinduism.

In closing, we leave you with a passage from a certain blasphemous, forbidden text. This succinct passage serves to illustrate a dualistic mythology that appears to be the predominant, pervasive nature of manifest Universe. It also illustrates the Tek-Gnostics Network's default, binary operating system. Based upon our dichotomist experience here on the planet of the apes, our understanding of dualism takes on a certain Discordian flavor…

"Magicians, especially since the Gnostic and the Quabala influences, have sought higher consciousness through the assimilation and control of universal opposites... good/evil, positive/negative, male/female etc. But due to the steadfast pomposity of ritualism inherited from the ancient methods of the shaman, occultists have been blinded to what is perhaps the two most important pairs of apparent or earth-plane opposites: Order/Disorder and Serious/Humorous.

Magicians, and their progeny the scientists, have always taken themselves and their subject in an orderly and sober manner, thereby disregarding an essential metaphysical balance. When magicians learn to approach philosophy as a malleable art instead of an immutable Truth, and learn to appreciate the absurdity of man's endeavours, then they will be able to pursue their art with a lighter heart, and perhaps gain a clearer understanding of it, and therefore gain a more effective magick."

- the Principia Discordia

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Dualistic Universe Part 1 - Tek (yang) Edition.

The above from Robert Anton Wilson's "The Illuminati Papers"

Yang - Positive/active/male principle in nature, symbolized by the sun… sunlit orientation ie: south side of a hill or north bank of a river. Overt… masculine, exposed, obvious, open, belonging to this world. 

Traditionally and throughout history, humans have maintained a notion that Manifest Universe demonstrates dynamic ebb and flow that is dichotomous in nature. Yin/yang, light/darkness, observer/observed, etc. The very act of being born into Universe requires the accommodation of dualism. Appropriately, in the first half of our examination of an apparent dualistic Universe, we will explore the overt properties of such. 

The Western term dualism was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is contextualized within metaphysical and philosophical duality. Within the last millennium or two, the concept of dualism has expanded into other usages to simply indicate a system which contains two essential parts. This cosmology is essentially a doctrine of universally opposing principles… of two irreducible elements, expressed as:  light v darkness, creation v destruction, attraction v repulsion, benevolence v malevolence, good v evil… hope v despair.

 In philosophy of mind, dualism is a view about the relationship between mind and matter which claims that mind and matter are two ontologically separate categories. Mind-body dualism claims that neither the mind nor matter can be reduced to each other in any way. Western dualist philosophical traditions (as exemplified by Descartes) equate mind with the conscious self and theorize on consciousness on the basis of mind/body dualism. By contrast, some Eastern philosophies draw a metaphysical line between consciousness and matter — where matter includes both body and mind.

In philosophy of science, dualism often refers to the dichotomy between the "subject" (the observer) and the "object" (the observed). Another dualism, in Popperian philosophy of science refers to "hypothesis" and "refutation" (for example, experimental refutation). This notion also carried to Popper's political philosophy.

In physics, dualism also refers to media with properties that can be associated with the mechanics of two different phenomena. Because these two phenomena's mechanics are mutually exclusive, both are needed in order to describe the possible behaviors. An example of using two different physical models to describe one phenomenon is wave–particle duality.

The above may be considered a short primer on how Western or Scientific Thought views the concept of dualism. It would embody an overt, materialistic, mechanistic view of Universe. In our next installment, we will pursue the covert, obscure, esoteric understanding of dualism, typified by Eastern Thought...

Friday, June 1, 2018

Strange Transmissions from the Plant Kingdom

Back in October of 2013, I posted a weblog entry called: Psychedelic Diplomacy within the Plant Kingdom. This post was a brief review and excerpt from Paul Devereux’s book: The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia. Here is a short passage from that entry, were Devereux explores the ever-deepening social unease that Western Civ has with psychedelia…

“Perhaps only a shock of some kind could break our society free from the patterns of thought and prejudices that lock it into this crisis. The desire for such a shock may be hidden within the widespread modern myth of extra-terrestrial intervention. In fact, we do not have to look to science fiction for a real otherworld contact: it already exists in the form of plant hallucinogens. If we see them in the context of a 'problem', it is only because they hold up a mirror in which we see our spiritual, social and mental condition reflected. And they hold that mirror up to us as one species to another just as surely as if they were from another planet.”
- Paul Devereux

Here Devereux succinctly analogizes the separate-yet-interconnected realities of extra-terrestrial contact and the psychedelic experience. Perhaps facets of the same gem?

Back in February, the intrepid Tek-Gnostics Media team traveled to the “City of Angles” aka: Los Angeles, California for the annual Conscious Life Expo. We were there on business, which included marketing “The Tek-Gnostics Heresies.” Our understanding of “business” also includes networking with the strange and wonderful people who attend such gatherings, and learning/educating ourselves through those who present or participate in panel discussions at such gatherings.

One of my aspirations for this event was to attend the lecture by ethnopharmacologist and research pharmacognosist Dennis McKenna, Ph.D., titled: Waking up the Monkeys: Plant Teachers and the Rediscovery of Nature. As many of you know, Dennis McKenna is the surviving brother of dearly departed author and psychedelic rabble-rouser, Terence McKenna. The brothers McKenna were infamized in Terence’s book: True Hallucinations.

The subject matter of Dr McKenna’s lecture was the ways and means by which the plant kingdom communicates with the animal kingdom… specifically, a particularly successful and tenacious hominid: Homo Sapiens. Here is a brief description of his lecture…

The human species is an anomaly in nature. Our hypertrophied brains have made us highly linguistic, immensely creative, and enormously clever but we also devalue Nature. This disjunct has created problems for us as a species and for the entire biospheric community. We are ‘problematic primates,’ systematically sabotaging the very homeostatic feedback mechanisms that stabilize the bio-sphere and maintain conditions optimal for life. The plant teachers… psychedelic plants and fungi… are desperately trying to wake up the ‘problematic primates.’ Human evolution, particularly cognitive evolution, has been greatly inuenced at critical historical and evolutionary junctures by the ‘plant teachers’ and they continue to help us restore our proper role as intelligent symbionts with all life on Earth.

Dr McKenna’s thesis suggests that plants communicate via the chemical transmitters they produce, whether it be noxious or poisonous “warnings” that are toxic or otherwise unpleasant to domesticated primates, or sweet and flowery “enticements” that induce the hominids to “come hither” by virtue of their aroma or taste. But of course, being a McKenna, his interest was in psychoactive plants that communicate via powerful neurotransmitter molecules that are structural analogs of serotonin. This interaction between plant and hominid, communicates via the psychedelic experience. It avails us to, or acts as a catalyst to the psychedelic realm.

Here, Dr McKenna continues the conversation, specific to the hallucinogenic brew, Ayahuasca...

“Although we have no certain answers, the question of the nature and meaning of the relationship between humanity and this visionary vine, and by extension with the entire universe of plant teachers, persistently troubles us. Why should plants contain alkaloids that are close analogs of our own neurotransmitters, and that enable them to “talk” to us? What “message” are they trying to convey, if any? Was it purely happenstance, purely accident that led some early, experiment-minded shaman to combine the ayahuasca vine and the chacruna leaf, to make the tea that raised the curtain on the “invisible landscape” for the first time? It seems unlikely, since neither of the key ingredients are particularly inviting as food, and yet what else could it have been? The ayahuasqueros themselves will simply tell you that “the vine calls.” Others, trying to be more sophisticated and rational, but proffering no more satisfying explanation, will talk about plant alkaloids as interspecies pheromonal messengers and as carriers of sensoritropic cues that enabled early humans to select and utilize the biodynamic plants in their environment.

Still others, such as my brother Terence McKenna and I in our early work, and a more recent reformulation of a similar theory by anthropologist Jeremy Narby (McKenna and McKenna 1975; Narby 1998), argue that by some as yet obscure mechanism, the visionary experiences afforded by plants such as ayahuasca give us an insight… an intuitive understanding… of the molecular bedrock of biological being, and that this intuitive knowledge, only now being revealed to the scientific worldview by the crude methods of molecular biology, has always been available as direct experience to shamans and seers with the courage to forge symbiotic bonds with our mute but infinitely older and wiser plant allies.”

- Dennis McKenna

The curious are encouraged to research the work of both Paul Devereux and the brothers McKenna. Their work serves as a foundational introduction to a phenomenon that has the ability to transform the Americas, and the world. The phenomenon of which I speak is the distinct, entheogenic communication and knowledge stream of “plant teachers” that is migrating from South American Amazonia to North America, via the psychedelic catalyst, commonly known as: Ayahuasca. 

In studying and participating in this archaic revival, I have come to describe this shamanic, cultural cross-pollination as a “Psychedelic Diaspora.” This migration of shamanic practice is a crucial component of a reawakening of psychedelia in the West. Perhaps this trans-American psychedelic Diaspora will allow us to reach a critical mass in awareness to address the ever-deepening social unease that Western Civilization has with psychedelia… Much more to come on this most intriguing topic… stay tuned, dear intrepid psychonauts…

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Motherless Children

“Motherless children have a hard time…  Motherless children have a hard time…
Motherless children have a hard time… when their mother's dead.
Nobody love you like your mother can… when your mother's dead.”

- Blind Willie Johnson

In 2005, author Richard Louv published a remarkable book entitled: Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. The book focuses on the diminishing opportunities that American kids have to explore and commune with Mother Nature. In his book, he examines research and concludes that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.

He describes our kid’s lost opportunity in clinical terms and coined the term: nature-deficit disorder. Here is a quote from his website: 

“In this influential work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.”

Having spent a good deal of my life ranging around the magnificent temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, I not only agree with Louv’s premise, I would take it one small step further. Our connection to Mother Nature… Mother Earth... Gaia… our connection to the natural world is indispensable in our physical and spiritual development. Like an umbilical cord, it is our lifeline to survival as a species. The following is from an article appearing on the website Core Spirit, entitled: The Spiritual and Mental Benefits of Forests...

“There are powerful benefits to spending time in forests. Various studies have shown that simply walking within a beautiful forest setting in a mindful state, or doing exercise in the woods, reduces stress and enhances the sense of well-being. However, forests fulfill a much bigger role than simply that of a buffer for modern-day stress; they also enhance our spirituality, by providing the backdrop against which we project the ‘basic patterns’ of our psyches.”

From my experience, it is clear that we are inseparable… indistinguishable… from the Earth. As the great Tek-Gnostic saint, John Lennon once said: “I am he as you are she as you are me and we are all together.” In our collective self-absorption, we are not seeing the forest, for the trees. In our time of sociological upheaval, we just might be missing the critical warning signs of environmental catastrophe. Mother Earth is trying to tell us something. Do we have the wisdom to hear?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Silicon Valley… Fueled on LSD

“The discovery of serotonin, as well as today’s most widespread class of drugs, SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), was due to this early clinical research of LSD.”

- from: “Silicon Valley's long obsession with LSD” by Derek Beres

Recently, the Big Think Network published an article titled: Silicon Valley's long obsession with LSD. In it, author Derek Beres explores the alleged long association of High Tech and LSD. The article not only traces the history of LSD and Silicon Valley, it also examines very interesting aspects of how LSD has affected neuro-research. This brief article is a highly recommended read.

However, it is the more esoteric and, dare we say, occult aspects of psychedelia and it's recent, dramatic and mysterious resurgence in pop-culture… that is of interest here... 

Over at the highly recommended site: VISUP, our illustrious ally, the diligent researcher and deep scholar of all things Fortean, the enigmatic Recluse… recently posted a couple of new installments on a series of posts he originally published in 2012. The original work focused on the Mellon Family, their ties to the US Intelligence community and their continued involvement in psychedelics.

His new foray into the Mellon family story focuses on the strange, recent death of billionaire Matthew Mellon, who allegedly died from compilations relating to an Ayahuasca session in Cancun, Mexico. Recluse’s recent posts go on to weave an incredible tale of psychedelic billionaires, machine elves, disclosure, crypto-currencies, and artificial intelligences... the likes of which could easily fit the plot points of a William Gibson cyberpunk thriller.

In keeping with his style, Recluse digs deep into the subject matter to explore the highly occult narrative that flows beneath the surface of the overt, mainstream story being reported. The result of these investigations begins to unravel a cryptic tale of, not only the odd emergence of an Alt-right faction, rising within the US West Coast’s High Tech industry… but of Silicon Valley’s long and deep association with psychedelics… namely: LSD. 

I had touched upon this theme in my book: The Tek-Gnostics Heresies, published in 2016. In keeping with meaningful coincidence, much of the "Heresies" was written in 2012, when Recluse was writing the original Mellon material. The following is a brief excerpt from a chapter in the book, titled: “Psychedelic Apocalypse” where I examine the influence that psychedelics exerted on the counterculture of the 1960’s…

"What began with Leary, et al on the East coast and Kesey & Co. in the West, is much more important than we realize… even today. The seed of psychedlia that was then planted, has germinated… incubated… and quietly blossomed… lotus-like… into a new world view, beyond McLuhan’s global village… to a global mind. The psychedelic experience revealed, to a large cross-section of American youth, dimensions of the mind only hinted at in philosophic and spiritual texts. 
In the west, the Summer of Love mutated… migrated to the South Bay, where it would rest dormant for a decade, in an area of Northern California that would soon launch the next phase of American innovation and entrepreneurship, a strange brew of fiscal conservatism and “dotcom” neoliberalism, some have called the California Ideology. This sleepy region, just south of San Francisco, now recognized as the birthplace of the computer revolution, would soon become known, world-wide as: Silicon Valley. 
The rise and proliferation of personal computing… as a technology of personal freedom… is a now-obvious outcome of the incubator that was the sixties. What occurred then is inextricably tied to who we are now and who we will become. For the psychedelic experience, drugs aside, is the consciousness of the future… and in the words of Kesey… You’re either on the Bus, or you’re off the Bus."
- The Tek-Gnostics Heresies

As many of you are aware, all things psychedelic are in the midst of a cultural revival. The modern origin of Western Psychedelic Culture can arguably be traced to April 19th, 1943 in Basel, Switzerland. From this now-infamous genesis, there began a global migration, a scattering or “Diaspora” of Psychedelic Culture, the likes of which have not been seen since the fall of the Western Mystery Tradition of late antiquity. Currently, the Western Psychedelic Cultural Diaspora is experiencing a significant renaissance that is three-fold in nature…

  1. The resurgence of academic study of psychedelics and (perhaps more importantly) the renewed funding of research... 
  2. The distinct, entheogenic, “Psychedelic Diaspora” that is migrating from South American Amazonia to North America, via the psychedelic catalyst, commonly known as: Ayahuasca...  
  3. The pop-cultural phenomena (also reportedly initiated in Silicon Valley) known as "micro-dosing." 

Keep your eye on this space, as in the weeks ahead, I shall be delving into the overt facets of these specific migrations of psychedelia, and examining, in depth, the occult ramifications of the Psychedelic Diaspora, and its effect on modern American culture. As I indicated in the "Heresies," the rise of Psychedelia is much more important than we realize… even today.

The world in which we live is a mysterious place… and the rise of psychedelia and the resulting psychedelic diaspora… is not done with us yet… Stay tuned.