Cognitive Imperialism

Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna

“Archaic Revival” is a book by Terence McKenna where he explores issues regarding consciousness, civilization, the use of magic mushrooms and he goes as far as to say that language may have been generated by the ingestion of psicylbin. He bases his argument on the fact that once people domesticated cattle, there were many mushrooms which rose from the dung! Others have explored this idea as well, particularly when the 5,000 year old Ötzi the Iceman was found with magic (or “medicinal” as the mainstream media say) mushrooms in his little bag.

Now I don’t want readers to think that I’m encouraging the ingestion of magic mushrooms, but it is important to keep an open mind about the big questions pertaining to consciousness and if experimentation with entheogens opens doors to alternate aspects of the reality rainbow then we shouldn’t shut our eyes, minds and hearts to them. Entheogens means the “god revealing ones” and people are using this term more often nowadays rather than psychedelics I suppose to “clean” their image. Here is a link which is excellent concerning the entheogens  http://deoxy.org/index.htm .

I remember many years ago after reading Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception” and other books of the psychedelic era a few of my own experiments. I was blown away by the fact that ingesting a few mushrooms totally changed my perceptions and made me question the parameters of what is taken to be “real”. doors_of_perception

Over the years I became convinced that just as there is a geopolitical imperialism there exists a cognitive imperialism. In fact, I now believe that much of the problems humanity is confronting in a political way stem from the narrow “reality tunnels” we walk through.
The general hypnosis,  indeed, the slavery of peoples’ awareness is due to cognitive imperialism implicit in our whole culture. For example, the Inuit  people have over 20 different words to describe 20 different snows…we of the West only have one word “snow” because that is all that we see. The Aboriginal peoples of Australia also have many different words to describe “sand” because they cognise many different “sands” but again we only have one word because that is all we see.

These examples are pretty trivial but I think you see my point. When we move into realms away from the the so called “real” 3 D world we enter a domain where words become almost useless. For this reason, I believe, symbolism comes to the fore. Symbols are multivalent entities which cannot be circumscribed by just one linear meaning, thus the symbol of a triangle or a cross cannot be reduced to just one meaning. Now, entheogens have been found to reveal multi levels of meaning simultaneously so that the experience is exactly like a Window or a Door opening up to the light. I believe Plato’s analogy of the cave where people are strapped to chairs facing a wall upon which shadows are moving across it depicts the closed realm of darkness. In his story he tells of one person who frees himself from the chains and turns his head to see that a candle has been creating the shadows on the wall of the cave. As he looks around the dark cave he notes a glimmer light coming from another direction. Slowly his eyesight adjusts and he finds himself outside the cave. Initially he is blinded by the intense light of the sun but as his vision adjusts to the new realm he sees a whole new world full of colour and life. When he returns to the inside of the cave to tell his friends still strapped to their chairs watching the shadow world, they think he is crazy. They cannot free themselves from their cognitive slavery and they believe that the liberated one is the one who is a slave to a delusionary state.

I believe that the cave in Plato’s analogy is the Consensus Reality which has its verity established under the Great Bell Curve which statiticians cite as the realm of reality. What I find particularly interesting is that physics and mathematics are pointing to the new direction away from the shadow world. I’m not a physicist nor a mathematician but as an ordinary bloke I’m interested in the little I understand because it is a completely different world to that which Isaac Newton experienced when the apple hit his head. Indeed, the apple of Newtown’s day would now be 3 different apples and each as real as each other while seeming to be the same apple. Firstly, it will be the 3 D one he felt on his head, secondly it will be the apple of subatomic physics which Newton would not recognise as real and thirdly it would be an apple which would not fall on his head but attract the earth to it. Each of these perspectives are “real” depending on which paradigm we are operating from.
Whether Carlos Casteneda’s don Juan existed or not, the Yaqui Indian sorcerer’s idea of different descriptions of the world which are as real as each other but in a different way holds true.

Carlos Casteneda

Carlos Casteneda

So, it seems that science is finding some “evidence” of a Global Mind. Shamans, mystics, magicians, saints and others have known this intuitively for millenia. Entheogenic experience just opens the Doors of Perception – it is up to us to
walk through and be able to perceive multiple worlds simultaneously without being shroomed. As William Blake said in “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” , “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” (Aldous Huxley got the title of his book from this quote, just as the rock band, The Doors, got their name from it as well.) This is similar if not the same as Plato’s individual’s vision when he leaves the cave.

Cognitive imperialism is the enemy. The way we become Spirit Warriors is to move from the imperialism of the head and into the heart. From the heart we feel the suffering and from the heart our actions will be powered with compassion. I believe that the Heart of humanity is connected with the heart of Gaia, the Sun and the rest of the cosmos. Indeed, our struggle against the forces of Darkness – the Masters of War, the Keepers of Concentration Camps, the Greed Kings who keep the poor shackled with hunger – our struggle is a struggle of Global Mind – Gaia Heart against those who watch shadows on the cave walls. The trouble is that the cave dwellers, those who are blind and deaf to the Light and the Word have the material power.

However, I have faith that in these times there will be more of us coming out of the shadows and as we adjust our vision to the world of  Gaia Heart/Mind we may usher in peace.

Below is a very interesting quote by Jonathan Ott:

“The Christian enmity (of entheogens) is easy to explain. Since the Christians were promulgating a religion in which the core mystery, the holy sacrament itself, was conspicuous by its absence, later transmogrified by the smoke and mirrors of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation into a specious symbol, an inert substance, a placebo entheogen, the imposture would be all-too-evident to anyone who had known the blessing of ecstasy, who had access to personal religious experiences. Thus a concerted attack on the use of sacred inebriants was mounted, and the supreme heresy was to presume to have any direct experience of the divine, not mediated by an increasingly corrupt and politicized priesthood. The Pharmacratic Inquisition was the answer of the Catholic Church to the embarrassing fact that it had taken all the religion out of religion, leaving an empty and hollow shell with no intrinsic value or attraction to humankind, which could only be maintained by hectoring, guilt-mongering and plain brute force.” Jonathan Ott

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2 Responses to Cognitive Imperialism

  1. Salem and the “witches” come to mind and the theory that it was the ingestion of ergot in sourdough bread that caused hallucinations and behaviours leading to their persecution.

    Although I have witnessed and partcipated in many social interactions and “partying” with Aborgines in Central Australia (across 5 tribal groups), Far Nth SA (3 Anangu tribes) and Darwin (the Aboriginal population is so complex and tribally diverse no list would be long enough) over many years, I have never heard of magic mushrooms being used. However these are all in hot climates so the mushrooms may not be indigenous to these areas, I don’t know enough to be sure.

    I have heard of the use of a combination of 2 native bushes used together in a little sack and put in the mouth and sucked. Pituri is one of the plants and the other maybe mention within this article

    http://fennerschool-associated.anu.edu.au/fpt/nwfp/pituri/pituri.html

    I have only seen it collected and made up, but the second plant has long thin leaves which are light green and needle-like. Together they have a narcotic effect. Pituri is also used alone, chewed like tobacco.

    I am not an “academic” expert on any of this I have just “experienced it” in some of my friends’ and colleagues’ day-to-day lives. There are so many things we don’t know that we don’t know about the alchemy of the hundreds of tribal groups that are the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.

    • stavr0s says:

      Thanks for the comment. I’m not familiar with our Aboriginal entheogens except Yani which may be seen as purely recreational. Check out my short post on Alien Intelligence https://dodona777.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/communicating-with-alien-intelligence/.

      Apparently the High Priestesses of the Delphic Oracle ingested mushrooms and when they appeared from within a smokey haze the smoke was Greek Yani – marijuana. It’s funny that people ridicule data – information – knowledge – wisdom that has been elicited by ingesting entheogens but at the same time accept as legit the same elicited by alcohol. There are far too many writers who are known alcoholics to refer to here. Also many Romantic English writers had “conversations” with opium, hashish etc.

      How much of our culture is due to the “dialogue” between the vegetable kingdom and ouselves?

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