Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 22 Aug 11 14:59
Just want to keep us focused, you cover a whole lot of ground in your book.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 22 Aug 11 15:02
With regard to the Mysteries, they did a pretty good job of keeping them a mystery...historical references give a fair estimation that Plato, Aristotle and quite a good deal of the Greek cognitive elite were either members or aware of the Eleusinians. Would you please reiterate what your research indicates they may have been about?
Donald Peter Dulchinos (dpd) Mon 22 Aug 11 18:11
25 is a good summary Ted, thanks. but in passing years, i'm less concerned about legalization. Like marijuana, it is effectively legal, at least in some locations.. i do think the legal argument is tenuous as Jon noted, but the book is larger than that i think. i found it interesting that Jon's focus in initial questions about the shamanic roots of Christianity was interesting; if i had thought commercially, i would have emphasized the Da Vinci Code kind of resonance. i actually read Baigent and Leigh's Holy Blood Holy Grail, and am probably one of several hundred who later kicked themselves for not thinking to turn it into a novel.
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Mon 22 Aug 11 19:21
Ha, me too. Although there are few of us who could have managed to turn it into to one both as idiotic and as entertaining as Dan Brown's version.
Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Mon 22 Aug 11 20:59
Well shoot, I don't have your book at hand then, but I'm very interested in the basics of shamanism (w/ or w/o drugs) and how they may still persist today. Are you willing to say a bit about that for us?
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 23 Aug 11 06:34
I was fascinated by a couple of things in that early part of the book - one was how you were defining a Western shamanic tradition, and the other was how it fed into both Christianity and paganism/witchcraft as competing religions. I've thought a lot about how we've built a complex of myths around a misunderstanding of pagan traditions - the Halloween version, with evil witches and warlocks, vampires, werewolves, etc.
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Tue 23 Aug 11 06:51
I've often thought that some of the more pathetic excesses of the "New Age" movement reflect the fact that all human cultures must have a shamanic/ecstatic tradition. If you're lacking that, it's like eating a diet with no vitamin C - you're gonna get sick. It's easy to roll your eyes at things like the seekers who recently were broiled in that phony sweat lodge ceremony run by a con man, but at least they're looking for what we've lost.
David Wilson (dlwilson) Tue 23 Aug 11 09:56
There is an interesting Jewish guy named Gershon Winker who runs a retreat center in New Mexico. He does a lot of collaborations with American Indians and writes about a Jewish shamanistic tradition. He has an orthodox hasidic background, did the yeshiva study and was ordained as a rabbi. Then he started thinking with his schlong, abandoned his family, and started chasing women. Now he acts as a circuit rabbi and started showing up as a "new age" presenter at promoted events and workshops. I never could understand the appeal of Christian televangelists until I encounter Winker. I read his material and almost forked out $1000 to go to one of his retreats in New Mexico. The guy is smart and he knows what he is talking about. He also makes very interesting connections between disparate traditions and with a single tradition. But then there is the carnival barker side to him. <http://walkingstick.org/>
Donald Peter Dulchinos (dpd) Tue 23 Aug 11 21:24
the basics of shamanism - well, when i gave up on the historical evidence, i returned to what i think is a truism - ecstatic, or merely meditative states, are a practice anyone can pick up. like Hunter Thompson, i don't recommend drugs to anyone, but they worked for me in showing the way to interesting spaces. Shamanism also then is about integrating those states into daily life - for me, values of community/interpersonal closeness, and also environmentalism, come through in a deep way in those states. even my interest in and experience with online communities (um, yeah this one), "group minds", grew out of those visionary states. my third book, though published before this one, called Neurosphere, was all about that. so, carnival barker? yeah, but did you enjoy the roller coaster?
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 24 Aug 11 02:27
I'm not certain, but I think it's true, that every culture has their shamans in one form or another. Those who handle the myths, the sacred, the epiphenomenal. Arthur Berger has a nice game for all this: take any myth, Greek myths work easiest for us, and follow it through some filters; ex: Myth/Sacred Story -- Oedipus -- theme of son killing father and marrying mother Psychoanalytic -- -- Oedipus complex Historical experience -- Revolutions; American, French,Arab Elite Culture -- Sophecles, Oedipus Rex; Shakespeare, -- Hamlet Popular Culture -- Jack the Giant Killer Everyday Life -- Oedipus period in little children
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 24 Aug 11 02:29
You can play with Jung's archetypes and Joseph Campbell's cultural parallels, or even add entheogenic as a filter.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Thu 25 Aug 11 19:00
(Have to say I'm amused that, like me, you have an MPA.) What do you think about some of the Christian traditions that are including hallucinogens now, like Santo Daime?
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 25 Aug 11 19:34
Good question about contemporary shamanism. Also wondering if you'd like to talk about some of your own experiences?
Gary Gach (ggg) Thu 25 Aug 11 19:53
whenever convenient, i wonder if you might comment on something i heard just today, in a store ... that natural entheogens were discovered all at about the same time all over the planet ... ¿ true ? ... i think the guy who said this is into terrence mc kenna, whom i've not read ... but it seemed synchronistic to hear during this dynasty of inkwell.vue ....
Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Thu 25 Aug 11 20:30
We were at the Tattered Cover in Lodo tonight and I tried to get a copy of your book, but it wasn't even in their catalog yet, Don. Alas. I shall keep trying.
Donald Peter Dulchinos (dpd) Thu 25 Aug 11 22:04
Left Hand Books in Boulder has it, maybe Lighthouse books too. entheogens all discovered at the same time? i have no idea, but really can't imagine how one would go about proving that. on the other hand, Karen Armstrong recently wrote a book about the Axial Age, noting that all the major world religions emerged at relatively speaking the same time, between 800 BCE and 200 BCE (not sure why it doesn't explicity include Christianity, but does point to Greek rationalism. i think it no great surprise that Santo Daime would find Christianity and entheogens compatible. in the book i highlight the Greek Orthodox religion i grew up in as one that has stayed largely unchanged in ritual and approach for at least a thousand years, and much of the use of chanting, lighting and incense is meant to put one in at least a mild altered state. the Orthodox monks of Mt. Athos added to their monasticism a meditative exercise called "hesychasm", almost an Eastern form of mediation. there was a period in the 18th century when some monks especially devoted to hesychasm started a reform movement, and were known as Kollyvades, after the koliva funeral cake I mentioned earlier which is baked with Demeter's pomegranate seeds. finally, as to my own experiences, i guess i would only say at first they were intensely personal, and had a deeply spiritual impact on me, who was otherwise a sophomoric atheist at the time. Later, I participated in more public festivals like Dead shows, but both sorts of settings engendered group mind types of experiences that led me to the works of Teilhard de Chardin, who i suppose best characterizes my subsequent religious views (minus the Jesuit overlay), all of which was the subject of my Neurosphere book. (as for the MPA Sharon, i guess amusing - but maybe shamanic values like communalism or environmentalism actually lead some of us to a non-profit, public service orientation. )
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 26 Aug 11 09:58
Can you say more about your religious views and how they connect to Teilhard. (An Episcopal priest handed me a copy of _The Phenomenon of Man_ when I was around 18; it had a profound impact on me at the time, though I'd have to re-read it to remember why. The concept of noosphere has come up a lot in my conversations and talks about the Internet). Another question, though I'm not sure you can answer it solely based on your research, is how drugs that were ritualized and ecstatic became "recreational"?
Donald Peter Dulchinos (dpd) Fri 26 Aug 11 18:17
oh, i don't know that i ever considered acid "recreational". sure had some crazy fun party time, but always felt it was to be taken seriously. Teilhard posited a noosphere, a thinking layer of united humanity, resting above the biosphere, and that it was the product of forward evolution. the connectedness of humanity echoed teachings of many world religions, but reconciled with the theory of evolution. working in the telecomm industry, and having been on the Internet at least since 1980, i felt the technological phenomenon was a clear manifestation of the theory of greater connectedness. Neurosphere tried to articulate how one might watch the next developments of technology; they should increase awareness, connectedness. if i was smarter, i would have invested in social networks as an obvious next instance confirming the trend. i think the connection of technology and spirituality is not something that is widely resonant, and I am wrestling with a followup to the Neurosphere book with a title of Technologies of Awareness. Would that catch anyone's eye out there?
Cogito, ergo Dubito (robertflink) Fri 26 Aug 11 20:47
Yes indeed. I would suggest including a little on the technologies of obfuscation as well. Technologies has a sort of "tools" ring to it. Tools need to be well-honed, proper to the specific application and skillfully employed (to push the metaphor a bit). BTW I like the "practical" tone of such a metaphor.
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Fri 26 Aug 11 22:09
The discussion of "recreational" vs. more sacramental (or simply exploratory) drug use is one that comes up repeatedly. While there was no real consensus in the counterculture of the 60s and early 70s as to what the drug experience meant or how it should be approached, there was a widely shared consensus that it meant *something* and was not simply a source of pointless fun. With the collapse of the counterculture and the intensification of the War on Some Drugs, I suspect that there are a lot of younger people who might regard the idea that one would take, for example, LSD in search of enlightenment to be simply bizarre. When I went back to college as an older student in the 1980s, I certainly ran into people who just thought of LSD and other hallucinogens as "party drugs."
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 27 Aug 11 03:10
LSD is back again, at least in the high schools where I live, Phoenix...almost all recreational, after the first ah-ha experience. Upon reflection, that's because there are no shamans and no cultural context for these kids to put it in. It's just one more high.
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Sat 27 Aug 11 07:12
Right, it seems we've actually moved backwards in that sense. The counterculture of the 1960s and 70s, for all its excesses and faults, did at least include the idea that LSD and other broadly similar drugs might be used for spiritual growth or to gain psychological insight. I'm not sure if that idea is even in the air anymore. Although I guess we're discussing it here... :-)
Ed Ward (captward) Sat 27 Aug 11 09:14
That idea was part of the zeitgeist because there were popular culture figures advancing it as a possibility. Even that wretch Leary had it as a central part of his rap.
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Sat 27 Aug 11 09:48
Good point. It's become completely pushed to the fringes (no offense meant to anyone taking part in this discussion!). I figure every President since Clinton has done at least some drugs growing up and that they all know very well that the War On Some Drugs is a hopeless crock and will never be "won." And still the folly continues.
Ed Ward (captward) Sat 27 Aug 11 09:53
I knew a guy who claimed to have attended acid parties at RFK's apartment in Manhattan. A very credible source, by the way. Claimed Rosey Grier scored it.
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