The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

What do they believe? What do you think? Talk about religion as it exists today.
PsyPhilosopher
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The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by PsyPhilosopher » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:45 am

According to the psychedelic theory of religion:

All religious stories are allegorical descriptions of the intense psychedelic altered state of consciousness which is accessed via high doses of psychedelic plants and chemicals.

So for example, the stories of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection, Mohammed's angelic revelation, Buddha's enlightenment, Moses' journey through the Red sea etc. etc. metaphorically describe the experience of mystical ego death and rebirth in the psychedelic state of consciousness.

The esoteric interpretation of religious symbolism recognises that the core meaning/referent of religion is the experience of mystical ego death during an intense psychedelic trip, and that religious stories are analogical models of the cognitive dynamics of ego death.

The exoteric interpretation of religious symbolism does not recognise or acknowledge the psychedelic references in the religious stories. Exoteric religion interprets the religious stories literally - as referring to actual people, places and events.

neilgodfrey
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by neilgodfrey » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:26 pm

I have seen quite a few arguments and lots of evidence in support of this view of religion. What leaves me in doubt, however, is memory of that little thing called "confirmation bias". How can the hypothesis be tested?

PsyPhilosopher
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by PsyPhilosopher » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:03 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:26 pm
I have seen quite a few arguments and lots of evidence in support of this view of religion.
Whose arguments?

The vast majority of arguments for psychedelic esotericism commit a fundamental materialist fallacy in their treatment of the evidence. Their evidential basis is restricted to looking for depictions of physical plants (mainly mushrooms) in religious art, and references to physical plants in religious scripture.

Writers who exemplify this kind of limited materialist understanding of psychedelic religion include John Rush, John Allegro, Carl Ruck, Mark Hoffman and Clark Heinrich. I assume that you had these writers in mind?

Mushrooms are only interesting and relevant to religion because they are the means of triggering the psychedelic state of consciousness. It is the state of consciousness itself, and the various phenomena that accompany it (in particular the experience of mystical ego death and rebirth) that is centrally relevant to psychedelic esotericism. In this way, the writers like Ruck and Rush are only espousing a derivative and degraded understanding of psychedelic religion, they are blind to the significance of the cognitive phenomenology of the altered state.

What i am talking about here is not merely about finding depictions of physical mushrooms in religious art. The essence of psychedelic esotericism is about interpreting the religious stories and symbols as descriptions of intense psychedelic experience. This kind of interpretation is almost entirely non-existent in print literature, although Benny Shanon and Dan Merkur come close to it.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:26 pm
What leaves me in doubt, however, is memory of that little thing called "confirmation bias".
You could equally say this ^ about exoteric (literalist) interpretation of religion. Some degree of confirmation bias is inevitable when you adopt any interpretive paradigm to explain religion, but that isn't a reason to doubt the validity of the interpretation.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:26 pm
How can the hypothesis be tested?
The hypothesis is tested by analysing the religious stories such as the crucifixion of Jesus and the enlightenment of Buddha etc. and seeing how they match up to the first-hand accounts of psychedelic ego death.

Furthermore, having concluded that all religious stories are remarkably easy to interpret as depictions of people tripping hard on drugs, you then need to evaluate the relative plausibility of the various competing explanatory hypotheses for the meaning of religion: for example which is more plausible - the literal historical Jesus or the mythological psychedelic Jesus?
Last edited by PsyPhilosopher on Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

PsyPhilosopher
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by PsyPhilosopher » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:20 am

Note that the psychedelic interpretive paradigm is inherently mythicist/ahistoricist, - it provides a coherent alternative to historical identity of the religious founders like Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha.

Postulating historical individuals is no longer necessary to explain the meaning of the religious stories when they are understood as allegories for psychedelic trip experiences. Jesus is not a singular historical person, rather he is an anthropomorphised description of a psychedelic trip (= mythological symbolism).

Many people in every generation take drugs and experience ego death (spiritual regeneration, worldmodel reprogramming), not just one single man 2000 years ago. The Jesus stories depict what people generally experience in the intense altered state.

The Psychedelic theory of religion applies equivalently to all myths as well as religious stories; it considers religious stories to be a subset of mythological stories (religion = myth).

andrewcriddle
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:39 am

I think one should distinguish between
claim a/ religion is based on altered states of consciousness
and claim b/ religion is based on altered states of consciousness produced by psychoactive chemicals.

Claim a/ is probably much more widely true than claim b/. (In fact I doubt if claim b/ has much validity outside the special case of native american religion.)

Andrew Criddle

neilgodfrey
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by neilgodfrey » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:25 pm

PsyPhilosopher wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:03 am
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:26 pm
What leaves me in doubt, however, is memory of that little thing called "confirmation bias".
You could equally say this ^ about exoteric (literalist) interpretation of religion. Some degree of confirmation bias is inevitable when you adopt any interpretive paradigm to explain religion, but that isn't a reason to doubt the validity of the interpretation.
Perhaps in the world of apologetics this is so. But it is not the way serious scholarly research works.
PsyPhilosopher wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:03 am
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:26 pm
How can the hypothesis be tested?
The hypothesis is tested by analysing the religious stories such as the crucifixion of Jesus and the enlightenment of Buddha etc. and seeing how they match up to the first-hand accounts of psychedelic ego death.
But that is exactly the process by which confirmation bias works.
PsyPhilosopher wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:03 am
Furthermore, having concluded that all religious stories are remarkably easy to interpret as depictions of people tripping hard on drugs, you then need to evaluate the relative plausibility of the various competing explanatory hypotheses for the meaning of religion: for example which is more plausible - the literal historical Jesus or the mythological psychedelic Jesus?
Simply relying upon plausibility does not cut it as a historical method. Again, plausibility is a nice useful criterion for apologists, but not for serious researchers.

iskander
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by iskander » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:08 pm

Evidence ?



Religion as a Product of Psychotropic Drug Use
"This secret encoding of the mushroom fertility cult down through the ages eventually led to the development of the concept of Jesus to encapsulate the identity of Amanita muscaria around the time of the sacking of the second temple by the Romans. Thus, according to Allegro, Jesus never actually existed. He purported to demonstrate, using philological analysis of the structure of the ancient Sumerian language, that the name Jesus actually meant something along the lines of "semen" and that Christ meant something like "giant erect mushroom penis." According to Allegro, the Bible (and the New Testament in particular) is really just a series of myths that describe the secrets of the Amanita muscaria fertility cult rather than real people."

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... se/282484/

PsyPhilosopher
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by PsyPhilosopher » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:42 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:39 am
claim a/ religion is based on altered states of consciousness


This ^ is an inaccurate characterisation of psychedelic esotericism.

The central claim that psychedelic esotericism makes is not that religion is "based on altered states", but rather that the *stories* that religions are based on are allegorical descriptions of drug-induced psychedelic tripping.

For example:

The story of Jesus eating and drinking the holy bread and wine at the Last Supper, then being seized, judged, crucified and ressurected = allegory for taking psychedelic drugs and tripping out and experiencing ego death

The story of Siddartha Buddha eating enchanted rice-milk then sitting under the Bodhi tree, being attacked by demons then becoming enlightened = allegory for taking psychedelic drugs and tripping out and experiencing ego death

The story of Mohammed eating Esphand in the desert, then hearing the voice of God and being commanded to write the holy Koran = allegory for taking psychedelic drugs and tripping out and experiencing ego death

etc.
andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:39 am
and claim b/ religion is based on altered states of consciousness produced by psychoactive chemicals.
The religious stories allegorize the altered state experiences that are triggered by consuming psychedelic plants and chemicals, the psychedelic "trip" experience. Psychedelic tripping only happens after ingestion of the right plants/chemicals, people do not trip except after taking drugs.

The most religiously relevant psychedelic altered state experience is mystical ego death and rebirth, which involves loss of control, panic-attack, psychotic mental disintegration, ie the classic "bad trip" experience. People do not experience a bad psychedelic trip except after taking high doses of psychedelic drugs.
andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:39 am
Claim a/ is probably much more widely true than claim b/. (In fact I doubt if claim b/ has much validity outside the special case of native american religion.)
The claim here is that *all* religion describes drug-induced psychedelic experiences, it is arbitrary and limited to pick out one instance of drug-inspired religion to the exclusion of all others
Last edited by PsyPhilosopher on Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

iskander
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by iskander » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:18 am

" Hallucinations
Drugs taken orally specifically for their hallucinogenic properties include those related to 5-hydroxytryptamine such as LSD and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and some related catecholamines such as mescaline.
Within an hour or so of ingestion of a sufficient dose of LSD the subject begin to develop perceptual changes in a state of full wakefulness. Those include the intensification of colours and sounds and synesthesias ( senses became mixed up so that a colour is seen when a sound is heard )
Hallucinations and illusions are usually visual consisting of geometrical forms , persons or objects . The mood is usually euphoric accompanied by intense mystical feelings, though anxiety may predominate in some , depending on the setting.

Physical symptoms include sweating, tachycardia, tremor and incoordination. The abnormal perceptions may persist for up to 12 hours but flashback recurrent hallucinations sometimes cause distress. "


Index of Differential Diagnosis . Edited by Ian D. Bouchier, Harold Ellis, Peter R. Fleming. Thirteen edition.
Butterworth Heinemann 1998
page 271

PsyPhilosopher
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Re: The Psychedelic Theory of Esoteric Religion

Post by PsyPhilosopher » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:06 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:25 pm
Simply relying upon plausibility does not cut it as a historical method
"Historical method" is hardly relevant to psychedelic esotericism, the crucial issue here is the hermeneutics of religion.

When deciding how religion is best interpreted, the relative plausibility of the different interpretive paradigms is compared. For example - is it more plausible to interpret the crucifixion story as a literal historical event, or as a metaphor for intense psychedelic tripping?

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