Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:45 am

John Mack is an intriguing figure:


Growing up alien

John Mack was a Harvard scientist who took extraterrestrial abduction seriously. Is he the reason I like misfits?

Alexa Clay

It was 1992 when John entered our lives. Bill Clinton was president, and Kurt Cobain dominated the airwaves. It was the end of the Cold War stand-off, and the political scientist Francis Fukuyama had just published his book The End of History and the Last Man, where he wishfully predicted that human evolution had come to an end with the triumph of Western liberal democracy. Everything was smooth sailing. We no longer had the threat of communists, but we didn’t yet have the threat of terrorists. In need of a symbolic enemy, aliens personified an important ‘other’ — a dystopian warning to our Western culture’s all too eager triumphalism.

On television, the paranormal soon paraded around on shows such as Roswell and The X-Files, which explored extraterrestrial phenomena in the shadow of government cover-ups and conspiracy. Flip channels and you might have caught Arthur C Clarke’s equally other-worldly 26-part series Mysterious Universe . It’s no wonder that the 1990s saw a rush of alien appearances in the popular imagination. The impending millennium brought with it the arrival of a future that had always been distant. As the political scientist Jodi Dean, author of Aliens in America (1998), articulated at the time, the appearance of aliens corresponds to our ‘anxieties over technological development and our growing consciousness of ourselves as a planet and our fears for the future at the millennium’.

There is some truth here. When I asked my mom and John growing up what the aliens intended (subtext: ‘Do they come in peace or should I be really scared?’), they said that many experiencers felt that aliens communicated an environmental message about the urgency of saving the planet.

At the same time, many of the abductees that John interviewed attested to the technological superiority of the alien race. I was told stories about patients who experienced aliens that could pass through walls, were able to communicate with extrasensory perception (ESP) and mind-reading, and perform medical experiments on humans without invasive surgery. In this light, aliens provided an outlet for all our fears of technological domination. To have an experience of aliens was to realise that the human race might not represent the pinnacle of evolution, that we were perhaps inferior to extraterrestrial life.

In daylight, I was sceptical (the good little rationalist), but night-time brought with it a tide of magical thinking


But as a kid largely ignorant of grander sociological forces, aliens were only one thing: scary. They had large black eyes and androgynous forms. And they were real — like ghosts and witches and monsters. In daylight, I was sceptical (the good little rationalist), but night-time brought with it a tide of magical thinking. I used to lie in bed and worry that maybe I would be abducted. I would even make supplicating promises of better behaviour in the hope of bartering with these outsiders — ‘I’ll be good, just leave me alone.’ In my secular progressive household, aliens offered a moral disciplining authority, an invisible spectator to police my actions.

After many years elapsed without any sign of extraterrestrial visitation, I began to feel ignored. My fears turned to pangs of dejection: ‘Wasn’t I special?’ ‘Shouldn’t I be a chosen ambassador for the human race?’ Or even: ‘If the aliens were really out to create a master race (as I overheard), didn’t they want my DNA?’

John had many of the same laments. They weren’t the ego bruises of a child in pursuit of some fantastical ambassadorial calling, but they were in the same genre. He felt passed over. He longed for an encounter. He was the public face of this movement and yet he had only secondary experience of the abduction phenomena. Having spent more than 15 years listening to other people’s encounters with these mythical beings, he wanted some evidence beyond the testimonials he gathered from his patients. He wanted to be visited. We all did.

Just as important, a visitation would have answered the growing chorus of critics lining up on the ‘respectable’ side of John’s working life. Many of his colleagues thought he’d gone crazy. He, in turn, felt betrayed by those academic collaborators who failed to support his work. John’s biggest critics called into question his use of hypnosis. In keeping with Freud’s theory of ‘repression’ — which held that the mind can banish traumatic memories to prevent us from experiencing anxiety — much of John’s research invoked the idea of recovered memory, whereby, through hypnosis, you could get a patient to go back into repressed traumas and recall their abduction experiences.

I remember one summer evening in a beach house on Martha’s Vineyard when I was about 11, we all watched as John regressed my aunt back into a past life. She lay on the couch recalling an incident in which she was a forest ranger who witnessed the death of a few people during some kind of avalanche. My aunt later told me that she was fully conscious of the experience, but couldn’t control what she was saying. It was like she was watching herself tell a story. John later tried to hypnotise my brother so that he wouldn’t be afraid of spiders.

Ultimately, the question that plagued memory excavators like John was whether these repressed memories, divulged under hypnosis, were mere ‘artefacts’ of the mind, or else legitimately true recollections. John’s tendency towards a more literal interpretation of his patients’ experiences with aliens was controversial.

John described the investigation as ‘Kafkaesque’. He never quite knew the status of it or the nature of the committee’s complaints


In 1994, the dean of Harvard Medical School called a committee of peers to investigate John’s scholarship. This was the first time a tenured professor had ever been subject to an investigation. It was, effectively, an inquisition that some likened to a ‘witch hunt’, and it left John feeling persecuted and misunderstood. John described the investigation as ‘Kafkaesque’. He never quite knew the status of it or the nature of the committee’s complaints. Unable to accuse John of any ethical violation or professional misconduct, its aim was to ask, as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz put it, ‘whether a Harvard Medical School professor ought to be lending his credibility to stories of space alien abductions’. To Dershowitz, this was a dubious goal. ‘No great university should be in the business of investigating the ideas of its faculty,’ he wrote in the university magazine, in 1995. In the end, the dean reaffirmed John’s academic freedom to study what he wished and to state his opinions without impediment. But the damage had already been done.

As his professional credibility faltered, John’s anxiety and anger began to rise. John cared about his reputation. It was not easy to become persona non grata in the very institutions he had helped to build. He was used to working within established professional systems, and when those very institutions called his integrity into question, he sought out allies in other like-minded people. He grew an entourage of support among shamans, experiencers, and celebrities.

Our household became a living altar to an esoteric band of misfits who were regular houseguests and interlopers. One morning, when I went to get some orange juice from the kitchen, the actor Woody Harrelson was there, drinking coffee with John at the table. It was normal. Normal was also being offered a peace pipe by Sequoia, a Native American shaman who blew tobacco in our youthful faces and challenged us to seek out greater visionary experience.

By 13, however, I was ready to move on. John and my mother were headed to the Australian outback for a year to speak with Aboriginal people about their experiences with aliens. My brother and I were invited to go along: our formal education would be satisfied by distance learning packets, while our real education, as I understood it at the time, was to be some combination of didgeridoo and Aboriginal creation myths. But something inside me desired stability and order. I longed to be absorbed into an antiseptic American culture where lacrosse, school dances and flared blue jeans were ends in themselves; where ordinary reality wasn’t usurped by the fantastical.

My brother and I ultimately opted to stay behind. We stayed living with my father and stepmother, and succumbed to a deliciously comfortable white picket-fence existence (literally, the fence was painted white). We became absorbed in teenage politics and concerns. And the only flying saucers we encountered were Frisbees.

Later on, at college at Brown University, I gave myself licence once again to explore the magical thoughts of my youth, not least the idea that reality was merely a construction. As an adult, it was a less threatening prospect. Rather than induce existential panic, it furnished reputational accolades. I ended up writing a thesis about 17th-century astrology and the fashioning of scientific boundaries. It was an ode to John in some ways. I wanted to understand how ‘science’ became ‘science’. Many of the astrologers of the time were booted out of the emerging scientific establishment — some were even put on trial for instigating civil disorder. It was not unlike John’s own experience, when his psychiatric methods were called into question by the scientific establishment.

Before my thesis was published, John was hit by a drunk driver and killed, in London. It was 2004. Immediately after his death, my mother began receiving phone calls from clairvoyants who claimed to have communicated with John, ‘on the other side’. Before he died, John had begun outlining a manuscript on the power of love, based on the stories of those who had been able to communicate with loved ones after death. It was a surreal experience for my mother to be experiencing such intense grief, while at the same time receiving phone calls from people who had reportedly been in conversation with John after the accident.

After John died, aliens seemed to vanish from household discussion almost entirely. It felt like the public’s interest had also waned. When I asked my mother why the phenomenon had seemed to die down, I was told that the aliens were placing less emphasis on the Western world; that they were more interested in China. And that’s where we left it.


https://aeon.co/essays/wasn-t-i-special ... -by-aliens
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:05 pm

liminalOyster » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:52 pm wrote:
I would still humbly caution you to be wary of Chandler even if she seems, in part, to dovetail with your view.

She really seems to have an undercurrent of proto ethnic nationalism running through her working historical narrative.

She literally uses the term "new world order" and seems to believe in a genuine conspiracy between *all forms of so-called mindfulness including dilute secular Kabatt-Zinn stuff* and "democrats" to implement -- one world government -- ala Alex Jones, Birchers, etc.

When this is coupled with her repeating references to "the Western mind" and the assault upon it, which she'd like to fight off, it may as well be Pat Buchanan, IMO and really operates on the same kind of xenophobic logic as MAGA, only here its Tibetan "racist" lamas instead of dreamers with "anchor babies" etc.

When it is coupled with her general Orientalism, it recalls long and deep negative characterizations of the wily mystical Asians which go back, in this case, at least to the 19th c chinese railworkers,.

And when it is coupled with her negative references, to "the occult" and the threat of mindfulness leading to "mind control," she is smart enough to reference Znamenski but she sounds, to my ears at least, very much like the fundamentalists who protest Yoga in public schools because it may lead to demonic possession.

In sum, certain kinds of narratives get re-skinned as they are repeated but there are only so many of them and this one is easily identifiable -- a small group of woke freedom fighters wage a brave moral battle against the Decline of the West at the hands of godless invaders. This is the same basic story as The Turner Diaries, just less virulent and more erudite.


lO, I'm going to respond to your post here, in part because it is most relevant to this thread, most specifically the original post on TIDS. The Carreons, disillusioned insiders critiqued Tantra in "The West" heavily on their site American Buddha, which was also peppered with essentialist ideas about Western and Eastern mind, proposing asian philosophies as inherently alien and euro philosophies as somehow inherently best suited to people in North America.

This sort of overly simple thinking gets also to my ambivalence towards the entheogenic experience as mind expansion panacea. Whether it be a chemical from the lab, a magic plant and/or esoteric spiritual practice, we are not guaranteed integrated and comprehensive growth. Blind spots and other distortions of consciousness can and do persist. Ignorance bedevils most all of us, even the self-declared spiritual vanguard.

That is something many of us have to work to overcome- and there may be no quick fix for this condition.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:28 am

I think, ironically in one sense, our views are largely aligned, actually. Meaning that this is my favorite long-running RI thread even though I am relatively so probably more committed to various forms of "consciousness" practices, communities, and modalities and so want to really probe the critiques of skeptics to test my own blindspots and weaknesses. Whereas, IIUC, you are more on the outside but somewhat sympathetic to the good on the inside. Correct me if I am wrong, which I have often been known to be.

I'm not a believer in quick fixes save maybe a good haircut on a hippy.

I think the long view of psychedelics as working psychologically, rather than physiologically, has been mistaken. Those changes which take place in "personality structure" as a result of temporary modifications to the default mode network are likely contraindicated with stubborn acculturated ignorance, IMHO. I've probably referenced it before because it's a idea I like alot, but Terrence McKenna once pointed out that Americans seems ok with years of meditation leading to enlightenment, but opposed to psychedelics doing the same, because the former was in line with the Protestant work ethic. I try to keep this in mind also.

I think Chandler is quite different than the Carreons in that she seems to have some explicit if unrecognized inheritances from 1990s conspiracy culture. Mostly so the one world government idea -- which I have to say, non sequitur-like, that I find all that much more virulent given how completely weak the UN was in their attempts to prevent genocide in Rwanda contemporaneously -- which is beyond silly. I find her kind of intriguing (in her shortcoming that is) for trying to present psychology as hierarchically superior to mindfulness in a time when the vast majority of the US psychology community trades in the latter like small children trade in germs. She'd like to universally psychoanalyze an entire class of figures from a foreign culture based on a relatively precarious and poorly tested western theory. She's like Freud's wet dream.

BTW on another note, I am mostly concerned, in the Shambhala cult article, with instances of abuse and manipulation of members that are only now coming to light - a few of whose victims I have met. But a great deal of what the author refers to is kind of silly and also in line with base essentialist western superiority. The reference, for instance, to historical Tibetan brutality as being particularly remarkable only tells me the author has never studied the specifics of the Atlantic slave trade very carefully.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:12 am

Our views are definitely aligned. I live in those borderlands and yet I wince every time those Reiki hustlers roll through town. I think about the early morning meditation sit but sometimes it seems important to get some sleep. DMT was kinda scary the last time. I want to see the prisoners freed.

Everything you say about Chandler rings true to me. I remember self-styled LSD philosopher Art Kleps endorsing Arthur Jensen's biological racism at the end of Milbrook. He was just one of many, many psychedelic cowboys to come down the pike.

Here's the rub from a conspiracy perspective: Many, many drug advocates and/or distributors would play ball with the Establishment. Not to mention all the spiritual leaders and entrepreneurs. There's certainly a logic for them in doing so. When do they end up supporting that which they hoped to supplant? How far is too far?



liminalOyster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:28 am wrote:I think, ironically in one sense, our views are largely aligned, actually. Meaning that this is my favorite long-running RI thread even though I am relatively so probably more committed to various forms of "consciousness" practices, communities, and modalities and so want to really probe the critiques of skeptics to test my own blindspots and weaknesses. Whereas, IIUC, you are more on the outside but somewhat sympathetic to the good on the inside. Correct me if I am wrong, which I have often been known to be.

I'm not a believer in quick fixes save maybe a good haircut on a hippy.

I think the long view of psychedelics as working psychologically, rather than physiologically, has been mistaken. Those changes which take place in "personality structure" as a result of temporary modifications to the default mode network are likely contraindicated with stubborn acculturated ignorance, IMHO. I've probably referenced it before because it's a idea I like alot, but Terrence McKenna once pointed out that Americans seems ok with years of meditation leading to enlightenment, but opposed to psychedelics doing the same, because the former was in line with the Protestant work ethic. I try to keep this in mind also.

I think Chandler is quite different than the Carreons in that she seems to have some explicit if unrecognized inheritances from 1990s conspiracy culture. Mostly so the one world government idea -- which I have to say, non sequitur-like, that I find all that much more virulent given how completely weak the UN was in their attempts to prevent genocide in Rwanda contemporaneously -- which is beyond silly. I find her kind of intriguing (in her shortcoming that is) for trying to present psychology as hierarchically superior to mindfulness in a time when the vast majority of the US psychology community trades in the latter like small children trade in germs. She'd like to universally psychoanalyze an entire class of figures from a foreign culture based on a relatively precarious and poorly tested western theory. She's like Freud's wet dream.

BTW on another note, I am mostly concerned, in the Shambhala cult article, with instances of abuse and manipulation of members that are only now coming to light - a few of whose victims I have met. But a great deal of what the author refers to is kind of silly and also in line with base essentialist western superiority. The reference, for instance, to historical Tibetan brutality as being particularly remarkable only tells me the author has never studied the specifics of the Atlantic slave trade very carefully.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:23 pm

Thanks lots for the Kleps and Jensen trip. Highly relevant to my research, as you may have guessed.

I suspect that the relative exile to the underground of Reich and Jung made it more likely that attempts to author a psycho-history would be racist. The search for an anarcho-gnosis, by its prohibition, was likely to reproduce peer groups and thus segregation. Maybe for different reasons, I feel like Ken Wilber's weirdo pseudo-essentialist models of consciousness threaten to do so as well. But I don't know his work that well. And of course prohibition was always going to force psychonauts to veer libertarian

I think it'd be a mistake to assume the majority of these figures care or cared about supplanting capitalism/imperialism. In the end they just want recognition and rights to their identities. I think many were fundamentally liberal from the get go. See McKenna's famous riff on the constitution not being "worth the hemp it was printed on" if it restricted an entheogenic "pursuit of happiness." Or lots of wistful identification with Thoreau, etc. Arun Saldhana's Psychedelic White is great for a simple theory of how 60s/70s counterculture recreated and deepened the social formatios it purportedly sought to destroy. Sidenote that I have tremendous problems with his work in general, though.

IMHO, this was always one of the most intriguing things that Chogyam Trungpa did - made the hippies wear suits and stop smoking weed, asked them to become lawyers and businessmen and do rituals where they wore the uniforms of the military, both experiencing the enlightened qualities therein (which that cult piece writer offers as evidence of something distasteful, missing the mark altogether) and feeling the seriousness by proxy of those whose job it is to kill. I don't support the goal of submission to capitalism/imperialism but don't think that is what he was after and am astounded by his prescience in demanding young mostly white seekers turn back to their *own* culture and society instead of somewhere exotic. Shambhala is perhaps a bit pitiful, but i'll defend this fundamental part of his vision til the cows come home.


American Dream » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:12 am wrote:Our views are definitely aligned. I live in those borderlands and yet I wince every time those Reiki hustlers roll through town. I think about the early morning meditation sit but sometimes it seems important to get some sleep. DMT was kinda scary the last time. I want to see the prisoners freed.

Everything you say about Chandler rings true to me. I remember self-styled LSD philosopher Art Kleps endorsing Arthur Jensen's biological racism at the end of Milbrook. He was just one of many, many psychedelic cowboys to come down the pike.

Here's the rub from a conspiracy perspective: Many, many drug advocates and/or distributors would play ball with the Establishment. Not to mention all the spiritual leaders and entrepreneurs. There's certainly a logic for them in doing so. When do they end up supporting that which they hoped to supplant? How far is too far?


liminalOyster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:28 am wrote:I think, ironically in one sense, our views are largely aligned, actually. Meaning that this is my favorite long-running RI thread even though I am relatively so probably more committed to various forms of "consciousness" practices, communities, and modalities and so want to really probe the critiques of skeptics to test my own blindspots and weaknesses. Whereas, IIUC, you are more on the outside but somewhat sympathetic to the good on the inside. Correct me if I am wrong, which I have often been known to be.

I'm not a believer in quick fixes save maybe a good haircut on a hippy.

I think the long view of psychedelics as working psychologically, rather than physiologically, has been mistaken. Those changes which take place in "personality structure" as a result of temporary modifications to the default mode network are likely contraindicated with stubborn acculturated ignorance, IMHO. I've probably referenced it before because it's a idea I like alot, but Terrence McKenna once pointed out that Americans seems ok with years of meditation leading to enlightenment, but opposed to psychedelics doing the same, because the former was in line with the Protestant work ethic. I try to keep this in mind also.

I think Chandler is quite different than the Carreons in that she seems to have some explicit if unrecognized inheritances from 1990s conspiracy culture. Mostly so the one world government idea -- which I have to say, non sequitur-like, that I find all that much more virulent given how completely weak the UN was in their attempts to prevent genocide in Rwanda contemporaneously -- which is beyond silly. I find her kind of intriguing (in her shortcoming that is) for trying to present psychology as hierarchically superior to mindfulness in a time when the vast majority of the US psychology community trades in the latter like small children trade in germs. She'd like to universally psychoanalyze an entire class of figures from a foreign culture based on a relatively precarious and poorly tested western theory. She's like Freud's wet dream.

BTW on another note, I am mostly concerned, in the Shambhala cult article, with instances of abuse and manipulation of members that are only now coming to light - a few of whose victims I have met. But a great deal of what the author refers to is kind of silly and also in line with base essentialist western superiority. The reference, for instance, to historical Tibetan brutality as being particularly remarkable only tells me the author has never studied the specifics of the Atlantic slave trade very carefully.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:03 pm

I think also of how the American Flag was a psychedelic icon at the (fairly apolitical) Dead shows. Kleps writes of welcoming into Milbrook some girls from Bobby Baker's Quorum Club (sexual assignations and maybe blackmail for powerful men in Washington D.C.), who came to do the psychedelic thing. This is eerily reminiscent of Stewart Home's linkage of his mother's sex and drug connections in London to Christine Keeler of the Profumo Affair and also sex worker Detta Whybrow, who may have helped instigate two early underground acid labs.

If military uniforms were good for Shambhala hippies, how might it read for members of the Scientology SeaOrg? It always seemed a bit fascistic to me.

Also, curious as to what your critique of Arun Saldhana is.



liminalOyster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:23 am wrote:Thanks lots for the Kleps and Jensen trip. Highly relevant to my research, as you may have guessed.

I suspect that the relative exile to the underground of Reich and Jung made it more likely that attempts to author a psycho-history would be racist. The search for an anarcho-gnosis, by its prohibition, was likely to reproduce peer groups and thus segregation. Maybe for different reasons, I feel like Ken Wilber's weirdo pseudo-essentialist models of consciousness threaten to do so as well. But I don't know his work that well. And of course prohibition was always going to force psychonauts to veer libertarian

I think it'd be a mistake to assume the majority of these figures care or cared about supplanting capitalism/imperialism. In the end they just want recognition and rights to their identities. I think many were fundamentally liberal from the get go. See McKenna's famous riff on the constitution not being "worth the hemp it was printed on" if it restricted an entheogenic "pursuit of happiness." Or lots of wistful identification with Thoreau, etc. Arun Saldhana's Psychedelic White is great for a simple theory of how 60s/70s counterculture recreated and deepened the social formatios it purportedly sought to destroy. Sidenote that I have tremendous problems with his work in general, though.

IMHO, this was always one of the most intriguing things that Chogyam Trungpa did - made the hippies wear suits and stop smoking weed, asked them to become lawyers and businessmen and do rituals where they wore the uniforms of the military, both experiencing the enlightened qualities therein (which that cult piece writer offers as evidence of something distasteful, missing the mark altogether) and feeling the seriousness by proxy of those whose job it is to kill. I don't support the goal of submission to capitalism/imperialism but don't think that is what he was after and am astounded by his prescience in demanding young mostly white seekers turn back to their *own* culture and society instead of somewhere exotic. Shambhala is perhaps a bit pitiful, but i'll defend this fundamental part of his vision til the cows come home.


American Dream » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:12 am wrote:Our views are definitely aligned. I live in those borderlands and yet I wince every time those Reiki hustlers roll through town. I think about the early morning meditation sit but sometimes it seems important to get some sleep. DMT was kinda scary the last time. I want to see the prisoners freed.

Everything you say about Chandler rings true to me. I remember self-styled LSD philosopher Art Kleps endorsing Arthur Jensen's biological racism at the end of Milbrook. He was just one of many, many psychedelic cowboys to come down the pike.

Here's the rub from a conspiracy perspective: Many, many drug advocates and/or distributors would play ball with the Establishment. Not to mention all the spiritual leaders and entrepreneurs. There's certainly a logic for them in doing so. When do they end up supporting that which they hoped to supplant? How far is too far?


liminalOyster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:28 am wrote:I think, ironically in one sense, our views are largely aligned, actually. Meaning that this is my favorite long-running RI thread even though I am relatively so probably more committed to various forms of "consciousness" practices, communities, and modalities and so want to really probe the critiques of skeptics to test my own blindspots and weaknesses. Whereas, IIUC, you are more on the outside but somewhat sympathetic to the good on the inside. Correct me if I am wrong, which I have often been known to be.

I'm not a believer in quick fixes save maybe a good haircut on a hippy.

I think the long view of psychedelics as working psychologically, rather than physiologically, has been mistaken. Those changes which take place in "personality structure" as a result of temporary modifications to the default mode network are likely contraindicated with stubborn acculturated ignorance, IMHO. I've probably referenced it before because it's a idea I like alot, but Terrence McKenna once pointed out that Americans seems ok with years of meditation leading to enlightenment, but opposed to psychedelics doing the same, because the former was in line with the Protestant work ethic. I try to keep this in mind also.

I think Chandler is quite different than the Carreons in that she seems to have some explicit if unrecognized inheritances from 1990s conspiracy culture. Mostly so the one world government idea -- which I have to say, non sequitur-like, that I find all that much more virulent given how completely weak the UN was in their attempts to prevent genocide in Rwanda contemporaneously -- which is beyond silly. I find her kind of intriguing (in her shortcoming that is) for trying to present psychology as hierarchically superior to mindfulness in a time when the vast majority of the US psychology community trades in the latter like small children trade in germs. She'd like to universally psychoanalyze an entire class of figures from a foreign culture based on a relatively precarious and poorly tested western theory. She's like Freud's wet dream.

BTW on another note, I am mostly concerned, in the Shambhala cult article, with instances of abuse and manipulation of members that are only now coming to light - a few of whose victims I have met. But a great deal of what the author refers to is kind of silly and also in line with base essentialist western superiority. The reference, for instance, to historical Tibetan brutality as being particularly remarkable only tells me the author has never studied the specifics of the Atlantic slave trade very carefully.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:46 pm

American Dream » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:03 pm wrote:If military uniforms were good for Shambhala hippies, how might it read for members of the Scientology SeaOrg? It always seemed a bit fascistic to me.


Well, given that the slogan associated with that practice is/was "victory over war" and basically goes/went so far as wearing uniforms and doing zany Buddhist campouts, I'm not sure there's much of a comparison. Sea.org is like the equivalent of a Dianetics black site or maybe worse.

I'm actually always surprised by the degree to which people get spooked by Kasung. At one point some retreat participant at one of their land centers called the FBI because they saw them in uniform doring drills and immediately thought they were forming a militia. The FBI walked away perrplexed but amused, I've heard.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Tue May 01, 2018 7:34 am

lO, you've got a point- the Scientology SeaOrg is Black Site. Arun Saldhana I never had a serious critique of, other than suspecting him of being one of those grad students who wants to go to a tropical beach and take endless amounts of E and acid under the full moon...
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Tue May 01, 2018 7:38 am

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snippets from label for 32 oz. bottle of
“Dr. Bronner’s Supermild 18-in-1 Baby-Castile Soap”

We wanted to communalize our politics, our friendships, our minds. We were five anarchists who, having read Murray Bookchin’s Post-Scarcity Anarchism, decided we were an affinity group that wanted to take matters to the next level. We drove into Los Padres National Park and hiked a day into the Sespe Wilderness. Our plan was to camp, fast for three days, and then drop mescaline together. It was 1971, and even back then real mescaline was rare. It was probably LSD. It wasn’t just the times; we were a little nuts.

One of our company had to hike right back out due to medical issues, but the rest of us stayed bivouacked in a grove of shady trees near an icy mountain creek while we drank only water and avoided doing much else. The collective psychedelic trip was typical. Ego death. Oneness with all things. Direct communication with the collective unconsciousness and group mind. Seeing without eyes, talking without speech, traveling without the body. Becoming one with the transcendent. Oh yes, and lots of brilliant colors and mystical patterns. I never hallucinated independent visuals, but the drug made the unmediated kairos pushy, fiery, as if electricity raced through my veins. Much of what I felt was familiar thanks to a non-drug spiritual experience I’d had a couple years before. After what we considered were profound revelations culminating in collective consciousness, we broke our fast with Dinty Moore Beef Stew over a sparkling campfire in a percolating night. The next morning, we hiked back out.

Experimenting with drug-induced group mind was all the rage in the day, from the Trips Festivals of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters to the Weather Underground’s acid fueled criticism sessions. But the unmediated all-one spiritual experience of various New Age religions and communalist cults was just as prominent. Harvard professor, LSD guru, and psychedelic pioneer Richard Alpert believed it was possible to achieve the psychedelic moment without drugs, through spiritual means, and he wrote a famous book Be Here Now as Baba Ram Dass about the possibility of staying all-one all the time without the benefit of LSD. Even Dr. Bronner promoted the All-One mystical experience through his magic castile soap.

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Beat poet and anarchist Kenneth Rexroth wrote a book, Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century, which circulated in manuscript form before being published in 1974. In it he laid out various examples of the libertarian communal tradition. For the pre-modern era he covered the neolithic village, early religious communities like the Essenes and early Church monasticism, the beginnings of open class warfare in various rural rebellions and peasant wars, and the apocalyptic/millenarian/quasi-communist religious movements of Münster, the Anabaptists, and the Diggers. The Russian peasant commune, early American utopian communes, and the beginnings of overt anarchist and communist political experiments completed his survey of the modern era. Rexroth nicely linked up the spiritual and political roots of communalism, and it wouldn’t take much to extend his analysis to the insurrectionary/communizing politics of today’s anarchist/left communist milieu.

This will be yet another essay critiquing Leftist practice and politics, except what I’ll be talking about are the promises and problems of what might be called the propitious communizing moment. Whether the experience is political, spiritual, or drug-induced, this is one polarity of the human experience that has been around for a long time, perhaps as long as there have been humans. I hate to use words like “trans-historical” or “human nature” because, first and last, humans are social beings. And to argue that such unmediated communizing moments are merely the product of human biochemistry is misdirected because all human experience is biochemically based. But what of the insistence that any such experience be made universal, all-encompassing, and 24/7?

Perhaps my most disturbing moment came when I once scored weed from a hippie house where the goal was to remain dosed on acid morning, noon, and night. They kept a bottle of non-chlorinated mineral water laced with LSD in the refrigerator and everyone drank from it throughout the day. The memory of the tranced-out zombie residents haunts me still. I remember both Ken Kesey and Wavy Gravy talking about the gaping holes in their memories where data and recollection simply disappeared from prolonged acid use, a black hole, a dark star, the “smokin’ holes where my memory used to be” in “the train wreck of the mind.”

I occasionally sit zazen at the San Francisco Soto Zen Center. Communally organized and hierarchically structured, the goal is to remain present here and now at all times even while profound incidents of immanence and transcendence are considered rare. Everyday mindfulness as opposed to perpetual nirvana. That the highly organized communalism of such spiritual institutions often degenerates into kool-aid cults organized by and around crazed gurus bent on mass murder or collective suicide is not at all surprising.

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Which brings us back to politics. The demand in the the ’60s was not only for permanent revolution but REVOLUTION NOW. Raoul Vaneigem and the Situationists talked of the “revolution of everyday life” and Daniel Cohn-Bendit argued that “the reason to be a revolutionary in our time is that it’s a better way to live.” The manifesto for libertarian communism however was Bookchin’s Post-Scarcity Anarchism. And his post-scarcity, post industrial, post Marxist anarchist communism was nothing if not utopian. He proposed decentralized, autonomous communes where divisions between theory and practice, freedom and necessity, individual and collective, town and country, industry and agriculture, nature and humanity, technology and ecology are merged into a revolutionary synthesis, an unmediated totality, a political all-one. From the decentralized communism of self-contained communes, Bookchin’s social ecology eventually broke with post-scarcity anarchism for a more practical, communalist libertarian muncipalism based on democratic citizens’ assemblies in towns, cities, and urban neighborhoods linked by regional democratic confederalism. That in turn has become the basis for the revolutionary Kurdish politics in Rojava.

I understood early on that daily psychedelic use was not advisable, but it took me longer to realize I preferred workaday mindfulness to everlasting nirvana, or practical libertarian municipalism to utopian post-scarcity anarchism. I would rather my propitious, unmediated communizing moments be less awe-inspiring and all-encompassing. I’ve mentioned the tendency in such spiritual experiences to degrade into authoritarian cults of personality with a propensity for murder and mayhem. Consider that the politics in question also have an affinity with fascism’s unmediated collectivism. To the old Soviet precept about the politicization of aesthetics, where art is subordinated to politics a la socialist realism, Walter Benjamin contended that the key element to Fascist regimes is the aestheticization of politics. Life and politics are conceived of as innately artistic, to be structured as an art form, and thus imbued with eternal spectacle. In turn, Fascism’s utopian fantasies are of an unmediated poetic space where direct communication is the howl of the dog that goes silent. Life, politics, and art can only be redeemed from fascist degeneration, according to Benjamin, by making them truly dialectical, a concrete form of praxis.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu May 03, 2018 7:55 am

Why the Rich Love Burning Man

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The weeklong Burning Man festival takes place once a year over Labor Day weekend in a remote alkali flat in northwestern Nevada. Two hours north of Reno, the inhospitable Black Rock Desert seems a poor place to create a temporary sixty-thousand-person city — and yet that’s entirely the point. On the desert playa, an alien world is created and then dismantled within the span of a month. The festival culminates with the deliberate burning of a symbolic effigy, the titular “man,” a wooden sculpture around a hundred feet tall.

Burning Man grew from unpretentious origins: a group of artists and hippies came together to burn an effigy at Baker Beach in San Francisco, and in 1990 set out to have the same festival in a place where the cops wouldn’t hassle them about unlicensed pyrotechnics. The search led them to the Black Rock Desert.

Burning Man is very much a descendent of the counterculture San Francisco of yesteryear, and possesses the same sort of libertine, nudity-positive spirit. Some of the early organizers of the festival professed particular admiration for the Situationists, the group of French leftists whose manifestos and graffitied slogans like “Never Work” became icons of the May 1968 upsurge in France.

Though the Situationists were always a bit ideologically opaque, one of their core beliefs was that cities had become oppressive slabs of consumption and labor, and needed to be reimagined as places of play and revolt. Hence, much of their art involved cutting up and reassembling maps, and consuming intoxicants while wandering about in Paris.

You can feel traces of the Situationists when walking through Black Rock City, Burning Man’s ephemeral village. Though Black Rock City resembles a city in some sense, with a circular dirt street grid oriented around the “man” sculpture, in another sense it is completely surreal: people walk half-naked in furs and glitter, art cars shaped like ships or dragons pump house music as they purr down the street.

Like a real city, Burning Man has bars, restaurants, clubs, and theaters, but they are all brought by participants because everyone is required to “bring something”:

The people who attend Burning Man are no mere “attendees,” but rather active participants in every sense of the word: they create the city, the interaction, the art, the performance and ultimately the “experience.” Participation is at the very core of Burning Man.

Participation sounds egalitarian, but it leads to some interesting contradictions. The most elaborate camps and spectacles tend to be brought by the rich because they have the time, the money, or both, to do so. Wealthier attendees often pay laborers to build and plan their own massive (and often exclusive) camps. If you scan San Francisco’s Craigslist in the month of August, you’ll start to see ads for part-time service labor gigs to plump the metaphorical pillows of wealthy Burners.

The rich also hire sherpas to guide them around the festival and wait on them at the camp. Some burners derogatorily refer to these rich person camps as “turnkey camps.”

Silicon Valley’s adoration of Burning Man goes back a long way, and tech workers have always been fans of the festival. But it hasn’t always been the provenance of billionaires — in the early days, it was a free festival with a cluster of pitched tents, weird art, and explosives; but as the years went on, more exclusive, turnkey camps appeared and increased in step with the ticket price — which went from $35 in 1994 to $390 in 2015 (about sixteen times the rate of inflation).

Black Rock City has had its own FAA-licensed airport since 2000, and it’s been getting much busier. These days you can even get from San Carlos in Silicon Valley to the festival for $1500. In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg flew into Burning Man on a private helicopter, staying for just one day, to eat and serve artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches. From the New York Times:

“We used to have R.V.s and precooked meals,” said a man who attends Burning Man with a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. (He asked not to be named so as not to jeopardize those relationships.) “Now, we have the craziest chefs in the world and people who build yurts for us that have beds and air-conditioning.” He added with a sense of amazement, “Yes, air-conditioning in the middle of the desert!”


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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu May 03, 2018 1:41 pm

I Swear I Read This: John Cline Interviews Michael Taussig

JC: Even if you’re not active in the anthropology of medicine, do you ever get the sense that you’re perceived as “the yagé guy” in the way Weston La Barre is “the peyote guy”?

MT: [Laughs] — I get something of that, but I try to keep control of it. I don’t want to be seen as someone like Timothy Leary. It’s obvious in my shamanism book [Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing (1987)] that I so esteem the experiences I had from the mid-1970s to the late-1990s with a particular shaman in the Putumayo, whom I really grew to adore as a person. That’s Santiago Mutumbajoy. I think I lucked out too, because starting in the 1990s maybe, certainly picking up speed in the 2000s, the yagé or ayahuasca shamanism had become so awfully commodified and tourist-ified and so forth. There’s an excellent book about these recent developments called Yajé: The New Purgatory by Jimmy Weiskopf. I was in another epoch, I think, in which those forces certainly were present, but they took a very mild and I think much more innocent form. So my book is really of an epoch that’s unrepeatable. I had quite a toe-to-toe argument with Peter Lamborn Wilson, known as “Hakim Bey,” about this current craze for yagé in Boston and upstate New York and so forth, and he took up the side that wondered: what was I complaining about? He supported [the yagé craze], he said, because it’s an interesting and maybe spiritually opening experience, and it should be shared ’round the world. And I took another point of view. There’s a pamphlet around…

JC: I have that one! Ayahuasca and Shamanism: An Interview with Michael Taussig by Peter Lamborn Wilson.

MT: Yeah, it’s an interesting debate. I think Peter’s argument is more valid. But I’ve just got this gut feeling that I don’t like it, don’t want to be part of it. I don’t want to sit in a middle-class apartment with a chandelier and a thick carpet and a lot of middle-class people sitting around, and one toilet, and some Indian person — you know, in bare feet — chanting for them. I just don’t like it.


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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri May 04, 2018 12:03 pm

Secret Societies

Gary Lachman October 18, 2011

The Secret Chiefs, the Hidden Masters, the Inner Circle, the Illuminati, the King of the World: we know them all today, perhaps in different forms and perhaps by different names. But we know them. They are the ones in control. They are ones behind the closed doors and within the locked rooms. They are the ones with the secret knowledge, who speak a secret language. They know the magic symbols that unlock the gates that lead to worlds beyond our own. They have passed through the trials and ordeals of initiation. They have found the Holy Grail, the Philosopher’s Stone, the Emerald Tablet, the dreaded Necronomicon and the lost continent of Atlantis.

Many have belonged to this school. Some say Buddha, Christ, and Plato were its students. There were others too, names so great that to mention them in the context of secret schools would shock the uninitiated. All received the secret knowledge and kept it from profane hands. They have spoken with the angels and listened to the music of the spheres. They have travelled to the interior of the earth and brought back the precious metals of the mind. They have confronted the awful Dweller on the Threshold and they know the song the sirens sang. They have taken the Journey to the East and followed the bark of Ra as it sinks into the west. They have set their controls for the heart of the sun. They built the pyramids and the Sphinx, Stonehenge and Notre Dame, the lost library ofAlexandriaand the labyrinth atChartres. They are the elite. They are the elect. They are the few who know, who dare, who will – and who keep silent.

They might be anyone. According to the Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspensky – himself a member of an esoteric society and a lifelong seeker of theInner Circleof Humanity – much secret knowledge was learnt from an Oriental who sold parrots atBordeaux. Ouspensky’s own search for the miraculous and ‘unknown teachings’ led to an unprepossessing café in aMoscowbackstreet, where, after all his travels in the mystic East, he finally found The Man Who Knows.

He might be sitting next to you, or perhaps you passed him on the street. “Knock,” the Gospels tell us, “and it shall be opened unto you; ask and you shall receive.” But you must know where to knock and you must know who to ask. And you must first understand that the entire universe is a secret message, an enormous letter in a bottle made of space and time, washed ashore by the tides of eternity. You must look. You must question. You must take nothing for granted. You must be willing at a moment’s notice to give up everything – riches, position, power, your life – in order to have a single chance of passing from our everyday world, which we think we know so well, to that other world, that world of mystery, magic, miracle, and the unknown. That hidden, dangerous, seductive world of secret societies.

When you take that step, many things become possible. From then on nothing is true, and everything is permitted. From then on you may do what you will for, as the poet William Blake tells us, this world, the world you have left behind, is a fiction, made up of countless contradictions. This ‘real’ world, this world of newspapers, mobile phones, and internets, is, for those who have taken that fatal step, false. It is a trap, a prison house of the soul, where mind and body are constrained by the chains of ignorance and fear, the Archons of convention who keep us unaware of the knowledge, the gnosis, that will set us free. In the world of secret societies knowledge is power, and power is the power to know. It is the knowledge that you have the power to change the world by changing your knowledge of it. The secret writing, the hidden doctrine, the magical correspondences between above and below, lie beneath the thin surface text of everyday life. Here and there cracks appear in the mundane shell and we can briefly catch a glimpse of the real writing. We see connections, patterns, relations between the most disparate things.

As Edgar Allan Poe tells us in “The Purloined Letter,” that which is most hidden is open to view, provided you know how to look for it. Poe’s ‘spiritual detective’ is good at discovering secrets in plain sight. He wears dark glasses at night and keeps his shutters closed and his lamp burning by day. This reversal of the everyday world opens his imagination and enables him to see what everyone else is blind to, but which is in plain view. Like his creator himself, Poe’s detective is a member of the secret society of poets – for what is a poet but a discoverer of secrets that others do not know exist?

Now, with your eyes wide shut look around you and listen to the voices whispering loud and clear. Do not be afraid. Remember, each symbol is a doorway into your Self. The magic theatre waits; it is open for madmen only. As above, so below, and as within, so without. “When we dream that we are dreaming,” the seeker of the blue flower tells us, “we are close to awakening.” You approach the portal and must decide. Are you willing to take the risk? Are you ready to have your world turned upside down? Are you ready to join a society whose members know each other at a glance, who pay no dues, take no minutes? Whose meetings last the ages and take place among the Himalayas, onEgypt’s burning sands, and in the sunken cities of lost worlds? Do you want to know a secret?

Initiation

The candidate for initiation is a man or woman who is ready to change, to be transformed, to become someone different. If it is not a mere parroting of ritual, an initiation ceremony should have a serious effect upon the candidate. He or she should be a different person afterwards. Rebirth and regeneration are the signs that the initiation has been successful. This is usually achieved through some ordeal. Death and violence are never far from an initiation. As the esoteric historian Manly P. Hall tells us, “many of the great minds of antiquity were initiated into secret fraternities by strange and mysterious rites, some of which were extremely cruel.”

In the initiation rites of Freemasonry, the candidate re-enacts the murder of the ancient master builder Hiram Abiff, killed by three ‘ruffians’ because he would not reveal the secret Mason’s word. Daggers, a noose, and severe interrogation mark the candidate’s rite of passage. The initiate himself must swear eternal silence about these profound secrets, on pain of torture and death, should he reveal them to the profane, a commitment shared by all the great esoteric societies – hence the fact that we know so little about them. These Masonic rites themselves, or so it is believed, are based on the initiation ceremonies of the ancient Egyptians, a people whose whole society was ordered according to the ancient wisdom guarded by the high priests. In secret chambers built deep into the pyramids and below the temples of their gods, the ancient Egyptians performed rites, dramatic re-enactments of the struggle of the soul in its passage through the underworld after death. Based on the mysterious Book of the Dead, through ceremony, trance, trial, and terror, the Egyptian initiate experienced the journey of the soul through the fearful world of the Duat, that strange region inhabited by demons, gods, and the darker spirits of his own nature, while still alive. Passing through successfully he joined his fellow initiates as a soul freed from the terror of death, and took his place among them amidst the eternal stars.

As the journey to the stars took place via the underworld, many initiation rites were performed in sunken chambers, in caves and grottoes, which symbolized the fallen nature of the Earth. Below the temple of the god Serapis in ancient Alexandria– destroyed in 391 AD by the Roman emperor Theodosius – strange mechanical devices constructed by the ancient priests were found in subterranean crypts and caverns, where the initiatory trials were undergone. In the worship of the lost Persian saviour-hero Mithras, initiation rites were performed in underground temples fashioned to look like caves, which the initiate entered by descending seven steps – representing the ancient planets – and upon whose walls were painted mystic symbols. Here the candidate underwent grievous trials, where he was pursued by the wild beasts and demons of his lower nature. Part of the Mithraic rites involved the tauroctony, or sacrifice of a bull, in which Mithras, the intercessor between man and the gods, stabs the animal with a sword, while turning his face toward the sun.

The theme of a sunken, subterranean, and secret chamber is found in many secret societies. In the myth of Christian Rosenkreutz, founder of the 17th century esoteric society the Rosicrucians, his uncorrupted body is discovered more than a century after his death, hidden in a seven sided underground vault, lit by a miniature sun, and surrounded by occult symbols. This image of a sun hidden in the earth – light sunken into darkness – was carried by the underground streams of esoteric thought into western literature, and appears, for example, in that remarkable compendium of secret knowledge, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, by the eccentric 18th century Polish Count Jan Potocki. Potocki himself was involved in several secret societies; among them the sinister Illuminati. In his highly esoteric work, structured like the Arabian Nights (itself a treasure chest of secret lore), after confronting the sheik of a secret Islamic sect, his hero finds himself descending into a subterranean cave, illuminated by innumerable lamps, where he extracts from the dark earth the precious Rosicrucian gold of enlightenment.

Some secret schools, such as the ancient Magi, devotees, like the followers of Mithras, of a form of Zoroastrianism, performed their initiations in the open air, on mountain tops, without temples, altars, or images, and with the entire cosmos as a backdrop. Others, like the Druids, sought out hidden fields and woods, a preference shown by the renegade French surrealist Georges Bataille. Fascinated by the idea of human sacrifice ( a practice associated with the Druids) in 1936 Bataille formed a secret society (as well as a journal) named Acéphale – ‘headless’ – whose symbol was a decapitated Vitruvian Man, a mutilated version of Da Vinci’s famous drawing, holding a dagger, with stars for nipples, exposed entrails, and a skull in place of the genitals. Their meetings were held in forests and woods and Bataille, whose headless man depicts Dionysian frenzy and excess, planned for one member to become a human sacrifice. The ritual murder would link the others in a pact of blood, but plans for Bataille’s gory initiatory crime were aborted shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

Following his passage into the new life, the initiate is introduced to the structure of the society he has joined, to the secret knowledge it protects, and to the secret language its members use to speak among themselves. He takes a solemn oath to preserve these sacred revelations, which, as mentioned, he must protect with his life. Family, friends, possessions, position, religion – all now take a secondary role. His new loyalty is to his new brothers and sisters, and even more so to his leaders, his superiors in knowledge and power, whose identity he often does not know.

Hidden Masters

The theme of Hidden Masters, Secret Chiefs, Unknown Superiors, and Mysterious Mahatmas is one shared by many secret societies, ancient and modern. In the west it is perhaps best expressed in the curious history of the Rosicrucians. In 1614 inKassel,Germany, pamphlets appeared announcing the existence of a mysterious society of adepts, known as the Rosicrucians, whose mission was the ‘universal reformation’ ofEurope. This unknown group of philosophers called on their readers to join them in their work of creating a newEurope, freed from religious, social, and political repression. Many indeed were attracted to this message and sought out the mysterious brotherhood, among them the philosopher René Descartes. Yet try as Descartes and others may to contact the secret brothers, no one could ever find them. Their whereabouts, it seemed, were unknown, and because of this the Rosicrucians soon attracted a new title, “the Invisibles.”

To some, the Rosicrucians’ ‘invisibility’ meant simply that they did not exist, and that the whole Rosicrucian craze was merely a hoax. Yet others rejected this idea, saying that, like their founder, Christian Rosenkreutz, they had gone into hiding, and only revealed themselves to the most worthy. Following the outbreak of the Thirty Years War, some said they had left Europe altogether and relocated toTibet, a place even then associated with Hidden Masters.

Freemasonry, too, has its own Hidden Masters. In the esoteric rite of Strict Observance, founded in the 18th century by the mysterious German Baron Karl Gottlieb von Hund, initiates must take a vow of absolute loyalty to masked figures known only as the ‘Unknown Superiors’, whose every command must be carried out with blind obedience. In the heady atmosphere preceding the French Revolution, Hund’s secret Masonic rites proved very popular, and the idea of secret leaders controlling events behind the scenes laid the groundwork for the conspiracy theories so widespread today. Stranger still was the belief that some Unknown Superiors were not simply men of position and power, but beings from another world. In the mystical Masonry of the Benedictine Antoine-Joseph Pernety, which combined Masonic ritual with mesmerism and the visions of the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, orders were issued, not from a fellow Mason, but by some strange unearthly entity Pernety called “the Thing.” A similar paranormal chain of command was at work in the mesmeric Masonry of Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, who received angelic orders from an “Unknown Agent” via the trance states of a group of women called the crisiacs.

By the late 19th century, a new variety of Hidden Masters appeared through the medium of the remarkable Russian esoteric teacher Madame Blavatsky, responsible for founding one of the most influential esoteric schools of modern times, Theosophy. Blavatsky claimed to be the agent of a secret group of highly evolved adepts, known variously as the Mahatmas, Masters, or Great White Brotherhood, whose provenance was India and whose base of operation was Tibet. Their real identity was unknown but messages from the Brothers miraculously appeared from nowhere, and were signed by secret names such as “Morya” and “Koot Hoomi.” Hints of the Theosophical Masters were soon linked to other legends of the East. One such was the strange myth of the King of the World, a powerful and sinister figure who resides in the subterranean city of Agartha, which lies unknown somewhere beneath the Gobi Desert. There he sits and “searches out the destiny of all peoples on the earth,” his sunken city linked to all nations through a vast network of tunnels. According to the 19th century occultist Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, founder of the secret political movement Synarchy, who was tutored in the ways of Agartha by the mysterious Haji Sharif, the King of the World is also known as the “Sovereign Pontiff.” His secret agents are at work in all corners of the globe, awaiting the signal to take the destinies of nations in hand, and prepare them for the King’s shattering appearance.

Less monumental but no less hidden are the Secret Chiefs whose edicts guided the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, perhaps the most well known secret occult society of modern times, which included among its members the poet W.B. Yeats and the infamous magician Aleister Crowley. Impatient with the speed of the Golden Dawn’s initiations, Crowley sought out his own Secret Chief, and in a hotel room in Cairoin 1904, he met him. Aiwass, a disembodied intelligence from another dimension, dictated to Crowley the text of his most influential work, the notorious Book of the Law, the scripture for Crowley’s religion of Thelema. It’s message was “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Crowley proceeded to do what he wilt with great enthusiasm, among other ways by starting his own secret society, the Argentinum Astrum (‘Order of the Silver Star’), dedicated to Crowley’s peculiar blend of hedonism and magical philosophy. Many joined and today Crowley, once known as “the wickedest man in the world,” is an iconic figure within youth culture, his face and ideas informing a wide range of pursuits, from rock music – the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and many other groups were devotees – to drugs and sex.


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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon May 07, 2018 8:01 am

Don't try this at home, kids:



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Tao Lin, Psychedelic Journeyman

By Anna Dorn
05/06/2018


At the end of Tao Lin’s first nonfiction book, Trip, the author is happy and stoned in Northern California. The journalistic memoir documents Lin’s radical lifestyle change following the depression and pharmaceutical drug addiction fictionalized in his previous novel, Taipei. The journey began with Lin watching over 30 hours of plant-based drug guru Terence McKenna making “small mouth noises” (McKenna’s term for human speech) on YouTube. In these hours, Lin learned that McKenna was excited by topics Lin had expressed in Taipei as sources of despair — drugs, technology, humanity, and the future.

At his death in 2000, Terence McKenna was, in his daughter’s words, “still deciding who he would be.” In life, he was an ethnobotanist, mystic, psychonaut, lecturer, author, and psychedelic plant advocate. According to this New York Times obituary, he was deemed the “Timothy Leary of the 90’s” by Mr. Leary himself. He was also called the “intellectual voice of rave culture.” Lin was drawn to “McKenna’s triangulating deviations into stand-up comedy and, as [he] experienced it, ‘fiction;’” the Times described McKenna as combining “a leprechaun’s wit with a poet’s sensibility.” Lin relates to these descriptions. “I do try to be funny,” he tells me on the phone in his trademark monotone. “And I like dry humor.”

McKenna’s work helped Lin escape from what he calls “society-wide degeneration,” the effects of which include “pain, confusion, dark humor” and a “kind of restlessness.” He did this by empowering himself with knowledge. (Lin tells me he’s uniquely qualified to “recommend things,” which he does frequently on Twitter, because he’s read “more than 150 non-fiction books” and “hundreds of scientific papers.”) Trip explains that by “self-consciously, note-takingly exercising and stretching in a variety of physical and mental states in the past three years,” Lin learned his muscles had been “‘unconsciously tensed’ for some unknown amounts of time.” This is an inevitable symptom of being a “twenty-first-century degenerate.” Publicly-owned companies, Trip explains, corrupted aboriginal wisdom regarding nutrition. Before a DMT trip towards the middle of the book, Lin and a friend discuss a Canadian dentist who concluded that modern people can’t fit all 32 teeth into our mouths neatly due to multigenerational malnutrition. This finding comforts Lin, who had always felt that his teeth and tongue were too big for his mouth.

In Trip, Lin takes care to distinguish drugs from psychedelics. Drugs are “more-habit forming,” whereas psychedelics “dissolve habits.” Drugs don’t cause mystical experiences or “guarantee relief from boredom,” rather they stop “feeling amazing” after the first few times and typically cause a comedown, or “take from the future.” Psychedelics awaken compassion. Lin writes: “Peaking on large doses of Adderall alone in my room, I’ve never sobbed while thinking fondly and lovingly about my parents, as I have on cannabis and psilocybin.”

Psychedelics also helped Lin as a writer, as tells me on the phone, because they enabled him to access emotions he’d never before experienced, like awe and wonder. Faced with these feelings, Lin was required to invent “new arrangements of words” to describe what he was experiencing. It’s a ongoing test, he says, particularly because psychedelics underscore the limitations of language. (He enjoys the challenge.)

After recounting Terence McKenna’s life in chapters like “Mushrooms and Marriage” and “Books and Divorce,” Trip becomes more personal. Lin applies what McKenna taught him in four sections named for the following plant-based drugs: Psilocybin, DMT, Salvia, and Cannabis. On Psilocybin, Lin deletes his website and throws away his computer. On DMT, he experiences various degrees of paranoia and connection with his “internet friend Tracy,” who is visiting New York for a conference on psychedelics. During the trip, Lin becomes convinced Tracy is both a CIA agent and “a person who hated me.”

As evidenced in all of his books, Lin is skilled at documenting the unique discomforts of social interaction. I ask how he deals with the fact that plant-based drugs seem to magnify his discomfort, via things like inappropriate laughter and paranoia. Lin explains that while these drugs can intensify social anxiety, they only do so for brief moments, which he later finds amusing. In Trip’s epilogue, which he edited from first to third person in order to explore “Terence McKenna’s idea that the main thing people should realize is that we’re all imprisoned in some kind of work of art, ” Lin tells an inane lie to McKenna’s former wife Kathleen Harrison about turmeric while high on cannabis. He reflects:

[Lin] looked away and felt disappointed in himself and confused—he wouldn’t formulate a theory on why he’d suddenly lied until examining this situation later in prose—but then recovered almost instantly from the convoluted faux pas that now seemed okay and at least partially amusing. He reminded himself he lived in relative hermitude and that his brain and mind were broken in thousands to millions of ways, that his temporary malfunction wasn’t unexpected. It was expected and so could be meta-experienced and, in various ways, enjoyed.


On the phone, Lin tells me: “while I’m stoned I have access to more thoughts, so that can make social anxiety worse, but I’m also enjoying everything more and more interested in more things, and that takes me away from thoughts that give me anxiety.” He continues, “I’m more interested in the world. And that encourages me to talk more. And I can just enjoy it. And that reduces social anxiety.”

In a section entitled, “Why are Psychedelics Illegal?” Lin weaves the history of psychedelics and their criminality with his own personal experience serving on a federal grand jury. Here, Lin matter-of-factly pinpoints, without sensationalizing, the criminal justice system’s problematic underpinnings. At one point, Lin asks the prosecutor how the police “learned of the defendant,” afterwards thinking to himself, “Poor minorities seemed more likely to be targeted than, say, college students living in dorms.” Before the prosecutor’s response, Trip includes a quote from the Assistant to President for Domestic Affairs under Richard Nixon in 1994: “we knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.”

Then prosecutor responds, chillingly: “He isn’t going to be able to tell you that.”

I ask Lin on the phone about this experience. “Normally I wouldn’t ask that question,” he tells me. “But I felt motivated because I knew I was going to write about it, and because I was really stoned on an edible.”

The epilogue demonstrates how plant-based drugs have rendered Lin “happier and healthier” than he’s ever been, as he concludes in the book’s final pages. In San Francisco, he skips along the hills of North Beach, reflecting that society views skipping as childlike and feminine. But unlike the rest of us, Lin is unafraid of what has been labeled feminine. Through McKenna, Lin learned about the ancient goddess religion; from 40-12,000 years ago, societies worshipped only female deities. It wasn’t until 7,000 years ago, when what Riane Eisler called “dominator cultures” began, that societies began worshipping male deities. This knowledge positively altered Lin’s view of human history, which he’d previously thought “had always been male-dominated and war-obsessed.” Now, he believes humans are recovering from the dominator cultures, and trending back towards a more matriarchal and partnership-based organization. Accordingly, while visiting Harrison, Lin reflects that his book “would trend toward the feminine,” evolving “from yang to yin, dead to alive, Terence to Kathleen.” When reading this, I couldn’t help but find Lin a bit prophetic, as he ostensibly wrote this before the mass patriarchy-toppling of 2017. #TimesUp on dominator cultures.

In the epilogue, Terence McKenna’s son Finn says to the author: “you’re really into this quantitative thing, aren’t you?” It gives voice to the reader’s thoughts. For 189 pages, Lin has painstakingly measured everything from historical eras to his drug intake to his exercise routine. “The Mazatec shaman Maria Sabina,” Lin tells me at one point on the phone, “she lived until her 90s.” (I believe he was trying to prove a point about the health benefits of plant-based drugs.) I ask another, unrelated question, Lin tells me after a long pause: “Sorry, Maria Sabina actually only lived to 89.” Lin is nothing if not meticulous, but that’s not to say this book is devoid of feeling. Fellow author and Lin’s friend Sam Pink wrote in his Goodreads review that he believes Trip “will help shift our gloomy tides,” and I hope he’s right.


http://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/essays/ ... ourneyman/
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed May 09, 2018 7:03 am

A Feminist Artist’s Postcolonial Animations

Chitra Ganesh’s appropriations of traditional Hindu and Buddhist artworks are part homage to the past, part alternate realities and part badass feminist interventions.

Sharmistha Ray


Image
Chitra Ganesh, still from Metropolis (2018), digital animation (courtesy of the artist, animated and developed with the STUDIO, NYC.)

Chitra Ganesh, an art world fixture in New York for close to two decades, is a force to contend with. She emerged on New York’s art scene in the early noughts when cultural discourse on postcolonial subjectivity was reaching its boiling point in the academic and art worlds. The publication of “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988), a groundbreaking text by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, was seminal in the conversation for South Asians from the diaspora. It gave us license to see ourselves as primary subjects, as protagonists capable of creating alternate narratives within the mainstream art world — in which we had thus far been invisible.

Although the postcolonial debate has changed, Ganesh is among the few artists to retain its original strategies to embody brown, feminist politics and critique systems of power. Her earliest, and still one of her boldest, innovations was her appropriation of the immensely popular Indian comic book series Amar Chitra Katha (which literally translates to Immortal Picture Stories). Initiated in 1967 by Anant Pai, the series was intended as a pedagogical tool to educate children on their cultural heritage through the retelling of stories from Indian epics, mythology, history, folklore and fables.

Not surprisingly, the stories reflect the racial, religious, socio-economic and gender prejudices of India’s predominantly patriarchal and religious orthodoxy, which privileges fair-skinned, upper-caste Hindu males (caste is a toxic, hereditary class system particular to the Hindu religion). The comic books were visual and narrative minefields for Ganesh’s subjective interpretations.

Borrowing from a range of sources, including, most notably, Hindu mythology, science fiction and queer theory, Ganesh’s reincarnated comic-book melodramas replaced misogynistic tales of moustachioed, warrior men and dainty damsels in distress with quirky, mutilated, multi-limbed and bare-breasted nymphs and lesbian orgies in fantastical, mythic worlds. Her reconstructions boldly privilege the politicized female psyche — wounded, but still raging — as they reveal the original comics’ subtext of violence and subjugation.

The Rubin Museum of Art provides its own site-specific minefield for Ganesh’s gender- and stereotype-busting revisions. Tucked away on an unassuming corner in Chelsea, the Rubin’s intimate theater of Hindu and Buddhist history and mythology is represented by a fascinating assortment of objects, including scroll paintings (thangka), sculptures, and illuminated manuscripts. Five large-scale animations collaging past and future worlds interpret exquisite objects from the Himalayan region in The Scorpion Gesture, Ganesh’s immersive exhibition at the Rubin. Curated by Beth Citron, the museum’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the newly commissioned works are interspersed among the museum’s second- and third-floor pre-modern collections.

“So often the public views what they see and read in museums as recorded fact, when in truth, it’s one interpretation,” Citron stated by email. “Ganesh was a clear choice because of her brilliant skill of translating complex narratives into poetic, contemporary and visual stories. We wanted her to consider the collection through an entirely new lens.”

Image
Chitra Ganesh, still from Silhouette from a Graveyard (2018), digital animation (courtesy of the artist, animated and developed with the STUDIO, NYC.)


https://hyperallergic.com/441210/chitra ... -art-2018/
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed May 09, 2018 1:07 pm

Since the turning point of the century that trusted the future - and I like to place this turning point in the year 1977 - humankind has abandoned this illusion.

The insurgents of 1968 believed that they were fulfilling the Modern Hegelian Utopia of the becoming true of thought, the Marcusean fusion of reason and reality.

The integration of Reality and Reason (embedded in social knowledge, information and technology) turned history into a code-generated world. Terror and Code took over the social reationship and Utopia went Dystopic.

The century that trusted the future could be described as the systematic reversal of Utopia into Dystopia. Futurism sang of the Utopia of Technique and Speed and Energy, but the result was Fascism in Italy and Totalitarian Communism in Russia.


Futurism and the reversal of the future, Franco "Bifo" Berardi
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