Provoked Religion

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The issue concerns the mythical collectivity as a foundation for life, as an unreflective sense of being, and its remnants in our nature and ways of realizing it. Compared to the tribal life of primitives which arises naturally from their inner properties, compared to the image-soaked faith of the Asistic peoples, what life-content the denatured European brains can realize in terms of occupational activities, clubs, family gatherings, summer excursions and so-called feasts can only be regarded as flat, conventional and shopworn; the few primal crimes which may occur in one decade are not sufficient to maintain the belief in a moral tradition of the race. Above all what is lacking is any systematic educational effort in the direction of conscious enhancement of vitality, since the epoch as a whole has no fundamental principles at all. If it were not so, one could, by increasing visionary states, say with mescaline or hashish, supply the race with a stream of spiritual insights, which could lead to a new creative period. Or they might hit on the idea of using hypnosis – at present exclusively in the hands of casual-analytical, normoriented physicians – not to increase potential in terms of economic utility, but for the liberation of the unconscious, i.e. suppressed, organic functions and archaic mechanisms – surprising experiences would be the result. Pervitin, instead of giving it to bomber pilots and explorers, could be purposefully used in the high schools and colleges for the induction of cerebral oscillations. This may sound extreme to some, but is merely the natural continuation of an old human idea. Whether through rhythm, drugs or autogenic training – we have an ancient human urge to overcome intolerable tensions between outer and inner, between god and not-god, between ego and reality – and we have the old and recent experience of having access to the means of overcoming them. The Buddha's systematic “prayer breathing,” the ritual prayer postures of the early Christian hesychasts, Loyala's breathing with every verse of the Lord's Prayer, the dervishes, yogis, Dionysian rites, Mysteries – all one family, which one could call the physiology of religion. German mysticism, according to Jakob Bohme “the unification of the natural self with the nothing” (note: with nothing, not with God), this mysticism, which one scholar has called “an almost experimental psychology of religion of the most ruthless sort,” is the same thing - in other words, provoked religion.

pp. 45-46 The Psychedelic Reader Edited by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Gunther M. Weil (1993)