The Other Only Game in Town 

‘Sending a manned mission to Mars, that the time and the money would be far better spent feeding the starving millions.’ – I think this is a good lead into where I am coming from here. I don’t think this is simply a case of slightly mismatched metaphors – what I’m trying to express is that my sense is that there is an either/or option in Salvia which simply does not exist in the ‘Mars’ scenario. We can have both, we can solve starvation and go to Mars – indeed I suggest the solution to both is similar – a degree of human co-operation of an historically unprecedented quality and scale. With Salvia I sense/extrapolate a ‘phase transition’ (to pinch a physical metaphor) – and crossing that boundary does not allow for a return in the sense that I deem currently important. Let me put it this way – Salvia is backward looking to me inasmuch as I recognise myself behind the world, behind all appearance – it was I who started all this off. Now the urge to head off into infinity can only ultimately end up – well, right back where I started, behind/underneath all appearance (and so it is of course also ‘future’). The question therefore becomes a concrete appraisal of where this fragment of myself, my worldly I as opposed to yours or anyone/thing else’s (from the same I of course) finds himself living and focused right now, on the current edge of unfolding time. And Lo, I find this fragment living at a very peculiar and by all evidence critical age, a time when a past development (evolution) has reached the point where a clear decision between life affirmation and extinction is to be made – and if it is made at all, it will be a conscious decision forcing itself through the reflexes of aeons of habit. Peculiar time indeed. Indeed, picking up on McKenna’s insights – an evolutionary bottleneck, when only the essence of what we have become can move on, temporally viable. A moment of refining and extraction. Measured against this, I have to ask – why head madly off into infinity when there is such a clear task at hand, when it is all going down, right here, right now? Yes there is an element of ‘don’t be selfish’ in this. But more than that, there is a recognition that the ‘infinity out-there’ is actually here anyway, this is our game, this is what is worth doing right now – this is the only game in town. It is only the familiarity of conditioned conceptualisation which finds this world we are in commonplace and unmysterious – it is quite the contrary (as you yourself point out in ‘Parallel..’). It is a corner of infinity populated by the most fantastical and puzzling denizens with a major project on the go right now – why go anywhere else?

But I entirely agree that there is a futuristic aspect to Salvia – how could I not, for I believe I contacted the timeless Salvia where past and future all roll into One. I also recognise that in some sense the realms that Salvia helps bring into temporal consciousness are indeed the fields of our future play and adventure. But again I am drawn back to the urgency inherent to any realistic appraisal of our collective (we are after all inseparable) play in this corner of infinity – we must tidy up this playground and pick up our litter before we can truly move on. On a personal level I entirely understand other people communing with Salvia in order to reconnect with the actuality of what they already are, I have no criticism of it, been there, got the t-shirt. But for myself I would be very surprised if I felt/thought the need to do so again for my forseeable future here. I just don’t feel in need of reminding what is behind the stage props now. In all honesty I am sensing a dimension behind appearance in my everyday life now, and I am treading very cautiously – it is me, my history, my experience, my task – no one else’s, and the balance is a fine one indeed. I also feel qualified now to help guide others on this Salvia path (as much as anyone can anyway), in the knowledge that every communion will be unique and personal. I also think the Salvia ‘amnesia’ is a thoroughgoing safety mechanism, what is remembered is what the individual is ready for (this I really do hope is true). Despite this I will encourage no-one to do this, I simply say you are safe, you will return, and if you are prepared to meet death face to face, then you are prepared for Salvia, she can show you that death is unlike anything you may expect it to be. Yet there is surprisingly little comfort in this knowledge at first, the ontological shock is too overwhelming for comfort.

You discuss ‘new age’ conservative idealism. 100% agreement here. We are indeed in a unique situation – we always were! That kind of backward looking is understandable in the face of so many apparently insurmountable problems – especially when some of the values that will be inherent to any recovery we make are reclaimations from variously suppressed past conceptions. McKenna’s archaic revival indeed. Such ‘new ageism’ does resist the consciousness frontiers that you are concerned to preserve and develop, as am I. Perhaps (?) where we differ is in our conceptions concerning the ‘content’ and orientation that these frontiers are driven toward for, and applied to. Sure plants will survive us, but (McKenna again) if we are Gaia’s ‘ganglia’, ushered forth to save life from the sun’s imminent nova phase, then even from an unselfish point of view the only game in town is somehow ensuring that our games can carry on here at all. If the insights and treasures plundered from our ‘new frontier’ do not further this aim right now, they are at best an indulgence, because there is little time to act, and act we somehow, in some way - must do. In your ‘Parallel Universes’ you suggest that even the fact that you have been on a Salvia journey somehow changes the quality of the reality you return to. It is a rich concept that I believe I largely share with you, working on a variety of levels. But again perhaps we differ in that my own emphasis is in what has changed in me, how am I qualitatively and quantitatively more plugged into the task at hand here? Is it clearer how I should/should not be today, what I should do. In a sense, I am ultra-sensitive to the abstract/concrete distinction inasmuch as talking the talk bears no resemblance whatsoever in importance to walking the walk in our human world here. As a committed vegan, as a green party member, supporter and helper, as a libertarian and a believer in individually acknowledged responsibility – I am constantly reminded how easy we humans find it to believe in words before deeds, and to believe in our high abstract opinions of ourselves before considering the actual consequences of our actual actions. I make no philosophical distinction here between thought/deed – they are indeed probably aspects of one continuum. But when people allow themselves to kid themselves, smoothing over crude actions with subtle, inconsistent excuses – I believe I am peering into the heart of the current human malaise. So I am careful and suspicious (not dismissive) of claims made about power plants which are not backed up with corresponding action and shifts in behaviour. This could relate to the works of Castaneda and the concept of ‘impeccability’ – except of course what I reject in Castaneda is the emphasis on the immediate dive into infinity. It seems to me that ‘impeccability’, and indeed any ‘practical moral’ proscription, is context dependent, and the present global context is not the context of the ancient Toltecs, and that ‘impeccability’ will now have an inevitably ‘global’ flavour that Castaneda’s books never allude to at all.