You are currently browsing the daily archive for 3 September, 2011.

I have found that my projects for grad school have to command most of my attention, and that I simply cannot cover the topics I cover here in those projects with anything like the explicitness and openness I would like. I realized long ago that covering entheogens openly would not work while still at a young stage of the career.

I have been disappointed to learn that even concepts like mystic experiencing, gnosticism, or transcendent knowledge rarely make their way into mainstream interpretations of Classical religion these days. How out of touch they are! Most mainstream scholars today would be surprised when Freke and Gandy write that the initiates into the mystery religious learned to view the myths of the cult as an allegorical representation of religious experiencing. Most mainstream Classical scholarship I have read does not seem to understand religious experiencing and allegory.

There seems to have been more respect for allegory and mysticism in Classical scholarship in the early 20th century. Scholars like James Frazer, Jane Harrison, Francis Cornford, and Franz Cumont were informed at least in some way by mysticism and allegory, even if their conception of these ideas was unfocused, vague, or off-base, lacking a real grasp for the dynamics of mystic experiencing and the workings of allegory. Later scholars have perhaps understandably dropped this vague conception and sought other explanations and interpretations of religious text and ritual. Over time Classical scholarship, like other fields, has become more and more disconnected from the findings of other fields as scholarship in all fields has become more and more specialized. Young researchers are regularly taught only the techniques and findings of their own field and are taught to find solutions to puzzles within the bounded system that has developed as their own field. Techniques and findings from other fields are often regarded with suspicion. Look at the cool reception that Ustinova’s book received in the two scholarly reviews I found, simply because she used studies from cognitive neuroscience on altered states to explain certain types of religious evidence from ancient Greece.

The Egodeath Theory was created outside of the standard academic environment. Hoffman did not have to worry about publishing highly specific, peer-reviewed case studies in order to pursue a scholarly career. Nor did he have to rely only on accepted scholarly books, but was free to theorize and try out ideas until he had worked out the theory. I’ve felt for years that researchers must confront the Egodeath Theory, its particular combination of entheogens, determinism, allegory, and cybernetic self-control transcendence. These topics are not generally considered in conventional scholarship, let alone the combination of these ideas. Entheogens and the altered state in particular have been neglected. They are the key taboo subject/s. Research that fully takes account of entheogens/altered state will be inevitably drawn towards the other topics.


Metaphorical Psychedelic Eternalism
September 2011


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