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Posts Tagged ‘Aldous Huxley’

Getting Off Your Face For Jesus

Posted by spritzophrenia on February 22, 2010

I wrote this about three years ago. A friend posted this Huxley quote, which has made me think a bit.

A similar conclusion will be reached by those whose philosophy is unduly “spiritual.” God, they will insist, is a spirit and is to be worshiped in spirit. Therefore an experience which is chemically conditioned cannot be an experience of the divine. But, one way or another, all our experiences are chemically conditioned, and if we imagine that some of them are purely “spiritual,” purely “intellectual,” purely “aesthetic,” it is merely because we have never troubled to investigate the internal chemical environment at the moment of their occurrence.

Mushroom Jesus


Furthermore, it is a matter of historical record that most contemplatives worked systematically to modify their body chemistry, with a view to creating the internal conditions favorable to spiritual insight. When they were not starving themselves into low blood sugar and a vitamin deficiency, or beating themselves into intoxication by histamine, adrenalin and decomposed protein, they were cultivating insomnia and praying for long periods in uncomfortable position in order to create the psycho-physical symptoms of stress. In the intervals they sang interminable psalms, thus increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood stream, or, if they were Orientals, they did breathing exercises to accomplish the same purpose.

Today we know how to lower the efficiency of the cerebral reducing valve by direct chemical action, and without the risk of inflicting serious damage on the psychophysical organism. … Knowing as he does (or at least as he can know, if he so desires) what are the chemical conditions of transcendental experience, the aspiring mystic should turn for technical help to the specialists-in pharmacology, in biochemistry, in physiology and neurology. And on their part, of course, the specialists (if any of them aspire to be genuine men of science and complete human beings) should turn, out of their respective pigeonholes, to the artist, the sibyl, the visionary, the mystic-all those, in a word who have had experience of the Other World and who know … what to do with the experience.

– Aldous Huxley ‘Heaven and Hell’

I am not at present sure if we have a spirit as such or where it interacts, but I agree with my friend that we are much more physical than many believe. It’s been one of my hobbyhorses for years that, if one accepts Y’shuan theology, Jesus was physically resurrected, now has some kind of body, and there will be a new earth in teh world to come.

I have only recently realised i am, by my practice, a supporter of drug-induced happy states. I must be, I drink alcohol, which is a drug. I also take caffeine, another drug, rather more than i used to. My alcohol use is sometimes with the intention of getting tipsy. (I stay away from getting really plastered, but it’s a slippery slope definition.) Which is not to say i therefore support ALL drug states.

I haven’t ever had what i consider a spiritual experience while drunk. And I am still of the opinion that drug experiences aren’t spiritual, although will ponder Huxley’s point that all our experiences are chemical-physical ones in the brain. Two of the practicing neopagans i know are adamant that drug experiences are not spiritual experiences, and i’ve already quoted a buddhist monk saying the same thing.

I am wondering if drugs could be a gateway to the spirit, but we are not equipped to handle them in a discerning way, much like we are not equipped to handle encounters with other spirits well, if they exist. (See http://www.christian-thinktank.com/sh6end.html and http://www.christian-thinktank.com/eyesopen.html for what i think are insightful discussions of this topic)

What do you think?
See also my Buddha and Drugs.

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