Your reply adds to my understanding generally and I thank you for that. The
descriptions of some of your other experiences are quite intriguing and
compelling. However, cutting to the chase (to get you a reply before I go on
holiday), the key thing, the area where you quoted me fully in order to
reflect directly, is probably where there is still the greatest
When I say that these worldly institutions have failed me. I mean in so much
as they fail anyone interested in the realms that plant allies reveal.
And I take these revelations, these experiences, to be essential in
gaining a fuller understanding of reality. So, while these institutions make
claims as to an understanding of whatís going on, and in so far as they teach
on the basis of their ideologies, I see them as poison.
Let me re-phrase. I see that these worldly institutions have failed. Period.
This is not a hindrance for me in the sense of it being me who feels
as if they have been let down. Itís not something thatís been done to
me; I donít take it that personally. Itís just a statement of fact.
I may be alienated from these institutions, but these institutions are
alienated from a greater reality. They are alienated from the mind of nature,
from the logos, from the felt presence of immediate experience, call it what you
will. - I know in which of these two senses I would rather be alienated.
To go on to your quote, "But more specifically Ė you seem alienated
from the recognition that these worldly institutions which have failed you Ė actually
are you. This is the impossibility of the ontology that Salvia reveals isnít
it? The world is me."
Well, I donít know about this. We agree that our experiences are quite
distinct. ĎThe world is meí is your conclusion from your
experience. Iíll try to be open to this. Maybe next time Iím in Salvia-space
Iíll see how it grabs me, but at the moment itís just an idea, Öand
Iím not really sure how useful an idea it will turn out to be. If
where it leads is for you to say something like, "So my sense is that you
really feel you have failed yourself", then it may indeed be limited.
Were I to reply to a quote such as, "I am seriously tired of hearing
so-called radical revolutionaries screaming on about Ďcapitalismí in the
streets, and then trotting off to Burger King in their new Nikes." With
something like, "I sense that you really feel that you are seriously tired
of yourself." then I think youíd be entitled to feel, even if not fully
non sequitur, at least that the argument was being used inappropriately, and Iíd
missed the gist.
The failure is not with me itís with the institutions. Specifically,
because and in so far as these institutions fail to attempt to integrate the
psychedelic experience, letís be clear - by and large they fail even to acknowledge
the psychedelic experience.
To suggest that the "game I was born into, that I live and breathe on a
daily basis Ö - really is infinity" again I feel does not turn out to be
particularly useful. The issue is whether or not the psychedelic realm is
relevant to life lived and breathed on a daily basis.
What does your Ďdaily life really is infinityí conclusion suggest with
regard to psychedelic experience? That the altered state is a distraction from
whatís going on here and now, thus not really relevant? That thereís no need
to be reminded of these other realms?
Okay, so itís not that you are absolutely morally opposed to the practice
of psychedelic ingestion, your argument is subtler. But to me the notion that
certain psychedelics are somehow at odds with daily life, even if suggested in a
more sophisticated manner than one usually hears, is still a reflection
of how estranged ordinary consensus has become. Itís our current degree of
estrangement thatís historically unprecedented, not the possibility that we
(me, you, society) could become more psychedelic.
Iím not complaining about my predicament of having been failed by those
around me. Sometimes I see this aspect of being a plant-person as a sort of
great cosmic joke, and very funny it is too. But without the use of particular
plant allies one has to realise that the vacuum is otherwise filled by something
else. This is what I mean when I say that one cannot expect reason alone to
overcome competing ideologies and whatever else is fuelling them.
Alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, chocolate, tranquillisers, television, -
as an individual you can choose to abstain from all of these, but you still need
to realise "that what we call reality is a culturally determined construct.
And what we need is to accept at the deepest level possible that culture is the
product of a long, co-operative, highly selective, highly developed, and, last
but not least, highly coercive process that culminates in an agreement
that shields us from other possibilities [Ö]".
Now this is what we really live, breathe and (I say) have to overcome
on a daily basis.
Iíll finish with clarification of what I mean when I emphasise the
positive aspects of fear. - Your counterpoint seemed to be more to do with pain
than fear, which is a rather different matter.
What Iím suggesting is that what lies at the heart of the particular terror
of the psychedelic revelation is the fear of having oneís preconceptions
As to the Ďwhat ifsí of damaging subtle psychic configurations. This
seems rather vague and speculative. ĎWhat ifsí and maybes can be used
against anything and to stop you doing anything. I donít make an argument for
Salvia based on Ďwhat ifí it perhaps turns out good for me. Iím saying
that, yes, I do experience aspects of terror, but when I consider the dynamics
of that fear, and the consequences of not facing it, I reckon that a
decision to remain in oneís corner has got more to do with a desire to return
to a comforting delusion.
In the film ĎThe Matrixí, one of the rebels sells out, saying something
like, "I know that this juicy steak is an illusion / just a stream of
electrical impulses, but it will still taste good". I see this as part of
the human condition and itís something that Iím trying to overcome. In my
analysis itís a question of seeing it in the longer run as not really being a
Iíll close for now with a related quote on the subject of terror (Öover
to you Terence).
"I'm not saying that there is something intrinsically good about terror.
I'm saying that, granted the situation, if one is not terrified then one must be
somewhat out of the full dynamics of what is happening. To not be terrified
means that one is either a fool or that one has taken a compound that paralyses
the ability to be terrified. I have nothing against hedonism, and I certainly
bring something out of it. But the experience must move one's heart, and it will
not move the heart unless it deals with issues of life and death. If it deals
with life and death then it will move one to fear, it will move one to tears, it
will move one to laughter [Ö]