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Lady of the lake, version #938

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Visionary Vine



Last week I was tooling around my wife's Facebook page when I saw this TED talk with Graham Hancock. While Leslie liked the talk, I happened to abhor it.

One of the most difficult things that a person can do in our culture today is to discuss psychedelics and altered states of consciousness. Seventy plus years after Albert Hoffman's fateful bicycle ride, those pyschonauts who have chosen to explore these realms are branded as foaming at the mouth heathens heading for a straitjacket at the insane asylum. Ready for my jacket, Mr. Demille.

I should be clear at the outset that I have taken the plunge a time or two in my trip around the sun. It has been many years but you never really forget how to ride Albert's bike. Be that as it may, it has been a very long time.

Graham Hancock has had his talk expunged from the TED channel as has had one of my favorites, Rupert Sheldrake. Something about peer review and unsubstantiation. I wonder if this whole talk of altered consciousness is still too much of a hot potato for some people. Society as a whole accepts one type of altered consciousness and that's drunk. The other stuff is still taboo.

In any case I have problems with Hancock myself. He goes down to Peru, takes ayahuasca and now wants to teach us all the secret of life. He starts out by saying that the cave paintings are pretty much messages from people in altered states of consciousness. Well great, how do you know that? I remember reading 5000 year old cuneiform messages at the museum in Jerusalem that sent Moishe out for a carton of milk and a dozen bialys.

Hancock cured a long standing pot habit sampling the psychedelic brew. Wonderful. But he thinks that the substances should never be used recreationally, better leave them for the experts and more serious devotees. Serious people working for humanity. He believes that the Ayahuasca rangers are here to save the world. Hallelujah!

There was an encapsulation of this kind of conflict in the 1960's when the Californian Merry Pranksters went to Millbrook in New York, rich boy Billy Hitchcock's palatial psychedelic estate. The learned Richard Alpert, Leary, Art Kleps types wanted to intellectualize the sacrament, Kesey and co. just wanted to have fun. I believe that fun won out, at least in that early round. Foolish to leave these sort of things in the hands of the academics.

Hancock sounds like McKenna. Do a bunch of DMT or yahe and make contact with the strange nonhuman entity, who will tell mankind how bad he has been fucking up. Thank you Don Juan. I have heard this song before and pardon me for thinking that he has been caught in some kind of cerebral trap. Not thinking clearly, could certainly lighten up. Not the kind of guy I ever wanted to trip with.

Things get psychedelic when they get psychedelic but people can not function with those circuits permanently in the on position. Sky isn't falling, no need to be so doomsday prophetic and shrill.

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