I have left around a number of what I would call psychedelic books, which you will notice consist very largely of photographs of pattern in nature, crystal structures, shells, bone structures, leaf structures, animal kills, erosion patterns, patterns in marble, all kinds of pattern in nature, because for some reason or other, the strongest one of the strongest effects that I had from the use of psychedelics was a vastly renewed appreciation of this dimension of the natural world, a kind of perception that the whole world is pattern.
This is a very strange feeling because our common sense normally faces the world on substance. We think of an primordial and more or less solid stuff which is found in dense forms as in granite or a ball of steel and found in very refined forms such as a gas. And we think that all the world is shapes of forms of this primordial stuff. But one of the extraordinary consequences of using psychedelics is that everything suddenly turns into transparency. I think that’s what some physicists have tried to say. I’m thinking of Sir Arthur Eddington in particular, when he remarked that it seems to turn out that the stuff of the world is the same as the stuff of our consciousness. As if awareness itself and material substance were really not different. And whatever this means scientifically, the psychological implication of it is somehow to make the physical world light lighter in every sense, somehow less heavy, less burdensome and lighter in the sense of more permeated with light. If you look, for example, at those reproductions of Persian miniatures that I brought out, you will see what I mean by the vision of the world as being lit, interior lit, illuminated from within. Not the interesting thing about this from a scientific point of view is that the physical description of the world does not require the concept of substance. It requires only the concept of pattern because upon a physical analysis, all substances, however solid, are finally described in terms of patterns, the patterns of their molecules, atoms, electrons and so forth.
And it is always the description of the pattern that seems to count. Common sense seems to urge us to ask the question, but what’s the pattern made of? In other words, if we see everything reduced to a lot of circles are winding lines, we want to know what are those lines made of?
But when you think it through. The only way anybody can ever tell you about them is to describe still smaller patterns within them. Nobody can really think of a way of talking about stuff, because if it has no pattern and it’s just sort of homogeneous all the way through and has really no shape in itself, I can’t imagine a way of talking about it. But you can no and describe and make out delineate patterns. And so the world takes on from this point of view what I would best call a musical quality. Music having the peculiarity of being a language, a form of art in which the principal delight is pattern and the whole meaning is in the pattern.
Music, you see, really doesn’t mean anything at all. It’s a great art, but one can have the absolutely magnificent music which represents nothing and describes nothing. One enjoys it simply for itself. In the same way as you might enjoy fireworks or watching ripples on water or watching the shapes of clouds.
They don’t mean anything.
And yet they’re orderly. And so wonder comes peculiarly aware of this world as play. I have described an experience in the joyous cosmology, which was actually based on an experiment with the Mexican mushrooms with psilocybin in which. I was listening to some Hindu music at the time in which the players were doing nothing but vocalizing the rhythm of drums, and they have a way of doing it with the syllables that deed it. DA dee dee dee da da dee dee da. So on. And they get up to a tremendous speed saying this. And it was the most gorgeous babble.
And then they were playing these various instruments and all the sounds became I became peculiarly aware of the nonsense in them. There was, for example, an oboe sound which sounds like somebody singing with his nose pitched.
Now there’s a lot of them children love to do that. It makes a fascinating noise. Why is it fascinating? Heaven only knows. But in this southern of Brad. Brad. That sort of savage, they weave together with incredible skill. They have Hindu music involves the most complex orders of pattern. And to count it out is quite difficult. But they do it with Cannes summit skill, especially with drums. And as a result of listening to this, everything became that. Everything became Hindu music. And so people you see when we listen to our own music.
Well, that’s very serious. And we take it all for granted. A violin and this is a piano. And these seem to be very normal noises. And we’ve so long been accustomed to them that we take them for granted. And we think that they’re perfectly sensible. Whereas, of course, if you listen to it with New Year’s there, nothing of the kind been taken like an organ, for example. What a monstrous construction of pipes and playing all these sounds through them, blowing through holes is simply fascinating when you hear the Hindus who do things musically that at first sight strike us as ridiculous because they concentrate on using sounds that we avoid. But we do sometimes use those songs when we are, especially as children. I’m trying to see what funny noises we can make. And so they will do things with their voices that sound to us like some sort of clowning. But to them, of course, this is all perfectly normal and serious music, unless, of course, they are turned on when they’re listening, as they very often are in India, and it’s perfectly legitimate. Their thing that they did, they forbid, is alcohol.
It’s difficult to get in India and.
But they dance a big bang. I remember I was having dinner in Kyoto with a Buddhist priest and a little party and naturally all the Japanese, including Buddhist priests, drinkers. And he passed around beer and Saki and fairly plentiful quantities was sitting at the table, a Hindu man, very intelligent fellow, and I noticed he refused them. So a little later I said to him, do not drink for religious reasons. He said, Oh, no, it is not that. It is just that I don’t need it and I don’t want to come myself. Was there something I don’t need? I said, Do you drink then, bum? Oh, yes. You said you would like. It is a very good drink. And as you know, a ban is an infusion of cannabis indica. And so I suppose the Hindus hear their own music from that point of view very frequently. Cannabis is hemp vulgarly known as pot.
So that the impression you see of this music at the time and in the state of mind, I was in in becoming the music and becoming this sort of marvelous nonsense, everything became that. And so I could see life behaving as patterns do so often behave. Look at a tree. You see, first of all, the heavy outline of the trunk. Then the trunk gives birth to branches and the branches give birth.
The twigs and the twigs give birth. The leaves and the leaves give birth to has and veins. And if you go on looking with a microscope, there is wiggle after wiggle after wiggle after wiggle, all coming out. And yet all adding up to the perfection of this tree’s pattern, like some sort of symphony. And so I could see all the wiggles and patterns of human imagination and behavior as being involved in this and the things that we call good, as well as the things that we call bad, the things that we call healthy, as well as the things that we call sick. The enlightened and illuminated and liberated point of view, as well as the egocentric and point of view in bondage, all of them as being integral parts of this terrific playfulness which the Hindus call the Leila or sport of creation, or better play better than sport play in the sense of playing the piano, playing the drama and so on, not play in the sense of the trivial.
So it was one of the most astounding feeling of being entirely a patent and nobody was making the pattern. There wasn’t a patina outside the pattern.
The pattern itself, was it? It grew itself. It created itself. It was spontaneous. It was all there was. And water.
Water was a..
And so one is constantly reminded of this by all natural forms and objects in which pattern is very apparent and in which at the same time transparency is apparent. These two aesthetic qualities go together to be suggestive of the psychedelic experience. And so it seems more than ever natural to surround oneself with not only the objects of human art, but with dried flowers and herbs and grasses and seashells and various kinds of rocks and crystals.
And I know a very great sculptor and she she’s not a sculptor. She is really a mosaic artist and painter. And name is Louisa Jenkins. And she is a great admirer of Talha the Shah, not the very progressive Jesuit theologian.
She is a Catholic and she has caught this feeling of universal pattern from him. And her studio is an absolute London museum. And she sees the artistic significance of everything. For example, we were having dinner with her one evening and she was serving Japanese saki in those small cups. Cups were white and one of them dropped off the table and split in two and we were about to pick it up and throw it away. She said, oh, don’t throw that away. I said, I have a use for it. And a little later she presented me.
It’s hanging in the dining room there with a an amazing face made of a flat disk of cement and the socket cups have been turned upside down and used as the eyelids for this creature.
Well, the thing is that her whole studio contains yes, she’s a painted this. This is Leviathan, the monster of the deep.
Her whole studio contains things like skeleton leaves, feathers of the most intricate type fish, skeletons, animals, bones, marvelous pieces of driftwood, gorgeous blocks of quartz, everything. That is absolutely fascinating. A child would go out of its head in that studio.
But somehow this intimates a world which is entirely design pattern and it has an extraordinary levity and joyous ness to it.
It seems to be a world that is immaterial in the double sense of the fact that it is not material and that it doesn’t matter in the sense of when something matters, that it is grave and thus heavy. It becomes, in other words, a universe whose whole meaning is playfulness. But playfulness must, in order to succeed, must have an aspect which simulates tragedy and can play and not play so that one can realize play. It is fundamentally play, but it plays very serious games or plays at seriousness.
Now, this leads me to a question that is important about the use of psychedelics. All the people who have been involved with it talk about games.
Game theory is very fundamental to it. Now, when Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert were at Harvard, both of them started out in their work as very, very respectable scientists in psychology. They knew all about statistics.
And Timothy Leary, while he had been here at Berkeley, had done some very careful statistical analysis of psychological mechanisms and so on. And and got his doctorate and was a very respected scientist.
Then they began working with psilocybin.
Well, they made what was to their colleagues the fatal mistake, not just of experimenting on subjects and making careful notes and analysis of how they reacted, but they took it themselves.
And then they slowly began to realize that what is called serious scientific inquiry is a kind of game.
And you can see it as that, of course, without being under the influence of a psychedelic.
Just by reading some of the literature, especially in the social sciences, where you will find it amazing jargon are used and that you have to be able to speak that jargon in order to belong to the academic fraternity. If you don’t talk that way and if you don’t acquire the special rituals of the fraternity, you are not one of the boys.
And an enormous amount of these investigations are truly trivial.
I remember for a time I was associated with a certain university which has a famous Department of Education that’s in the state.
And I remember reading the subjects of Masters dissertations when their degrees were awarded at commencement.
And what they had done to see was to choose subjects about running schools which were as specialized as you could get. I mean, somebody got his master’s thesis from writing about the relationship of windows in a classroom to the circulation of air for the children. Now, this is fundamentally a job for a constructor or architect or someone. I mean, you know, and this qualifies one for a master’s degree in education is simply fantastic.
But all those sciences and this is particularly true of the study of English.
They want to become scientific and that means studying something minutely. Well, it’s very important sometimes for a physicist or a chemist to study something extremely minutely. But what these other people are doing, because that the physicist and the chemist have acquired a certain power and status through their studies, they are simply trying to copy the method of doing things in spheres where this method is not particularly applicable. And so it becomes strictly a game, especially in psychology, where anything that is studied has more variables in it than anyone can think about. And so but it does make a very, very pretentious thesis to put forward some really good psychological statistics. So I shall have more to say about psychological statistics and the humanities. But so it becomes a game of staying in a certain caste.
Well, they saw through this, you see, and they felt at once that it was really rather ridiculous that they were doing this game and the psychology department at Harvard University and all as they ought to be mumbling in their beards and looking very grave. So really, the funny thing was the union, the university couldn’t stand it. And there was a question as to whether they were resigned or actually fired. It was probably both, but they just couldn’t go on with it. But now then it followed from that that they had to react to the opposite extreme and play another game altogether, which was, of course. What game is that? The opposite of the academic game is obviously the beatnik game, which is another game, too, because that, too, has its uniform, its rituals, its language and everything. And the moment you begins to start talking that way, you align yourself with a certain group.
I mean, if you dig things instead of appreciating them.
So that that puts you in a certain thing because they are there in group language, just as the academic people do to all games.
But now the problem becomes this.
There is a danger when you see how gamey life is. Two of overtly to regard everybody as playing games so that when somebody says something to you which is supposed to be either serious or sincere, that two things are not the same. You treat it as a game gambit and a person who is by no means ready to admit that he is playing games is very, very put off with this. Because you say you don’t take me seriously, you’re treating me as just as if I were playing games.
And so to when people get swept away by the notion that everything everybody is playing games.
They’re also liable to get what has been called the holy man syndrome. Which is I am divine and therefore I am above right and wrong. I can do anything I please because after all, it’s only a game. And this is one of the things that in what I would call imbalanced people is very liable indeed to result from the use of psychedelics. And one of the reasons why society is afraid of it.
And this really does present a considerable problem. Of course, we can look to the experience of the past to give us a bit of help in this, because in Asia there have, of course, for centuries been people who attained a state of consciousness involving the point of view, a that the world is a game and that it is fundamentally harmonious and that good and evil are ultimately reconciled. Johnson says in his book, those who would have good government without its opposite misrule do not understand the great principles of the universe. One might as well talk about having the positive principle without the negative principle. And such people are therefore either knaves or fools. Pretty bold statement, but nevertheless, the great Dao is sages, and the Buddhist masters have always known very well indeed how to handle themselves in terms of a relationship to ordinary society and have known how to take their holiness lightly. And if one has to have a halo, how to wear it over one ear. The if you will, as you consult, for example, the literature of Zen. And if you know anything about the way Zen is carried on here, you’ll find an astounding ability of the great men to carry the.
Exalted spiritual state in a very human way. One of the great points of Zen is that its ideal is not to become a Superman. Only a man, a human. And so the Zen people do not aspire to any claim of super humanity.
And the last thing that they learn in the very long training, say, of a person who is going to teach them is you might think it would be the first thing, but it is the lasting.
The last thing is they learn is the Zen interpretation of moral precepts.
It comes right at the end, if you read this new book by Muro and Sasaki called The Zen Koan, which is just published there is by Muro discusses the all the stages of koan study. And right at the end comes the study of the precepts. The irritating thing about this book is that it doesn’t tell you anything. It tells you a lot of headings, but no content. And one sometimes wishes that they would either put up or shut up. But it does have in its marvelous translations of Zen poems which are well worth the price of the book.
But anyway, this this thing, this point does come out that it is all part of making a bridge between deep inside and the everyday life of the world. Just as I said, you can’t go off into ecstasy, or at least you can. But it isn’t a good idea to go off into ecstasy and not grounded. So in just the same way, it is not a good idea to go off into a state of God’s omnipotence and divine holiness, etc. and not bring it down to earth.
And this is one of the things that I could really complain about among many people who have taken a great deal of psychedelic substances.
There is this tendency to pooh pooh everything, for example, I mean, and to do absolutely outrageous things. There is a movement afoot called the Neo American Church to put the whole thing on a religious basis. But what do you suppose they do? They have a number of what you might call elders of this church, but they call each one A boo hoo, b, double o h double o boo hoo.
Well, I mean, if some people are just going out of their way to make themselves ridiculous, it is this is the revolution, you see. And for some people, it is fired with a real revolutionary spirit that we are gonna make this thing work or we are going to turn the world on and we are going to do it on our terms.
Cos you can see from the standpoint of deep inside that it’s a very cute idea to call a religious patriarch a boo hoo.
I don’t know what boo hoo always means in American slang. In my slang it means a crybaby.
Or it means something. It could mean sort of a hot air bag and true Zen masters in their private references to each other.
Refer to one another as rice bags and tramps and bums and all sorts of things.
But outwardly, so far as their contact with the world is concerned, they wear the proper and dignified living out the governments of high officials, which they’re expected to wear because people want someone who is in a position of great authority or responsibility to look like it.
So the pope is the only man you can’t slap on the back and call Harry.
So it is of the essence of real insight that when you arrive at the point of understanding what for want of a better term, I must call the total harmony of the world. You have to see that in this scheme of things, there really is no person who is superior or inferior in the final sense of this of this world. That is to say, it becomes apparent.
That everybody at his level and in his place. Is manifesting the divine just as much as you are or as much as any Buddha is. This is why it said in the Buddhist scriptures that when you become a Buddha, everybody else does.
And so you have no basis for giving yourself airs and graces or for breaking other people’s game rules in such a way as to cause hostility because they in their way playing their games, even if they are limited games, even if they’re bad games, they too are all won with you.
And they are not knowing that they’re enlightened is at the point where they are very important indeed. It seems sometimes that events could be put on different levels and the levels could be numbered and a level that occurred on number 23 where it was quite right would seem very wrong if it occurred at level 95.
But what happens to us often is that we see an event and think it’s at that level 95 when it’s really only at 23. And so it seems out of place and it seems quite wrong. So this sensation, this real thorough absorption of the point that from the situation of the deepest mystical union, from that standpoint.
At that standpoint.
All men are equal, all beings are equal.
The problem arises when you try to bring that standpoint into practical affairs.
You can make one of two mistakes.
One, by saying you are all equal, but I am more equal than the first because I know you’re all equal and you don’t. The other is the more common one. All men are equally inferior. This course is the one from which our culture suffers to a high degree.
This is what is results in what you might call a sort of travesty of democracy. You see, all democratic thinking in the western tradition was based on German mysticism. The great tide of democracy came from people inspired by Tala and Eckhart and Souza and Rise Brook, the brothers of the Free Spirit, the Anna Baptist. The levels all those people were the seedbed of Democratic ideas and the idea of liberty. The. Their mysticism influenced George Fox and the Quakers.
But when you translate this, all men are equal in the sight of God to all men are equal on the level of politics and economics. Then the parody is are all equally inferior. And this is why it issued in the various fashions in the West for explaining greatness away as neurosis. Of psychoanalyzing all great saints and artists and so on and reducing their accomplishments to frustrations in sex and toiletry.
This gave everybody you see who was then really some kind of a bum. A sense of satisfaction in knowing that the great are, after all, just as inferior as you are.
And that is a democracy at its worst.
What has to be understood, I think, is this.
In order to integrate the level of mystical understanding with practical life, you have to remember one of the famous stories of Shri Ramakrishnan.
There was a student who had been with him and had been learning that all things in the world are Brahman, other supreme manifestations of the design. And having heard this, he left the Masters Ashram and went walking down the road. And there comes along an elephant swinging its trunk and looking rather fierce. And there is a much riding on the elephant. And he says to this man, Hey, get out of the way. This is a fierce elephant. But he thought, I am Brahman. Elephant is Brahman. We are all one Godhead and no trouble can come. So he didn’t get out, and as he approached the elephant swatted him with his trunk and threw him into the bramble bushes at the side of the road, from which he eventually extracted himself bleeding and bruised. And he went back to the master and said, and told what had happened. The master shook his head and said to him, but you should have realized that the manhood warning you was also Brahma.
Well, so it is like this when you see that all different, all people whatsoever, whether they be high or whether they be low, are manifesting the divine just as much as you are. Supposing you are in a high situation, you know, you really seen the mystery and you see that all people manifest it. You must stop to consider that what also manifests it is the differences between them. That they are arranged in a certain hierarchy, that the king being king and the cobbler being cobbler. They are. But you see, if we these are like these levels I was just talking about level 23 and 95. The cobbler at level 23 is doing all right. But what he is doing would not be appropriate at level 95 or however you want a number it or turn it around. So when we equalize things, we must also take into account.
Everything that is there to be equalized.
Put it in another way. You might say, if I really understand that all is the work of the divine, but would I, should I or should I not be angry when somebody like Hitler destroys millions of Jewish people? Many people jumped swiftly to the conclusion that, of course, I ought not to be angry and then jump to the next conclusion, which is that although I ought not to be angry if I’m not, I’m extremely cold hearted. But I would point out that my being angry at such a state of affairs would be as natural as water boiling when put over a fire. I would be very angry indeed. But this anger is included in the manifestations of the divine just as much as the villainy of the people who destroyed the Jews. They’re going to be villainous. I’m gonna be angry. Is s follows like the shadow and the substance? And so you might say then, if all is a divine, why do anything to change anything? If we see any sort of social injustice or what.
What you will disease if it’s all designed to let it go? No. But included in the things that are is change, is irritation, is all the among the workings of the human being. And so the people who work to change things are just doing their stuff at their level and they have to be included in this thing, in this totality. Gotta one said we work with nature even when we work against her. So you have to have the most inclusive view possible in order to integrate these two points of view. And it’s an oversimplification altogether to say when you’ve seen that the divine is in all things, you just cut up your legs, relapse into somebody and watch the world go by.
That’s all right for old men and for people who are physically tired and weak. That’s very proper. To sit on one’s porch and in a rocking chair would be the American equivalent. That’s fine. But obviously when you are young, you must be involved in the world because what has to be understood is there is no way of not interfering with life. Even when you glance around this room, you make an effect on it. The slightest little breath upsets things.
Not very seriously. Not very much. But still, it does our existence. The mere fact of existence is an interference. There is no way of not interfering because you are absolutely connected with everything that goes on and every move that you make has repercussions. So one has to interfere. Therefore, the question if you have to interfere. The practical question is how are several ways of doing it?
Which one, considering the fine points, can bring about dangers.
Things like the holy man syndrome. Incidentally, I should mention another point about the holy man syndrome.
Not so long ago, a young psychiatrist came to see me who had some experience in these matters, but he had a very noticeable chip on his shoulder and he was all for emphasizing the point that, say, Zen. He had read a lot about it was a con game.
He said, you know, you’re a con man. I’m a con man. We’re all we’re all con men.
And he he he was everything he did and said had a sudden aggression about it, as if to want to say to make a great point that we are all crooks. Now, when you see that you smell a rat. See, it’s all very interesting, but there’s a rat here. This person is overcompensating and therefore he hasn’t really understood.
If you have to go around, in other words, challenging everybody with your insight, it shows that you are not secure in it. You don’t really believe it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have to brag about it.
And this is the result.
This is the cause of all most all the kinds of excess and disruptive behavior that come from the use of psychedelics.
People get the vision and they go mad with it. They just can’t keep it out of their hearts. They have to go in and use it to kick the world in the teeth. I even know an old man who should know better. Who says that? When he’s got spiritual nourishment, he’s ready to kick the well in the pants again. It may be just a jokey way of talking.
I’m not so sure, but that little edge of somehow having to insist on it is the same state that I was talking about yesterday in the first seminar. When you understand it fully, you go beyond ecstasy and come back to everyday consciousness. Likewise, when you understand fully, you go beyond any special claim to be a holy man or to be a real devil or whatever exalted position happens to appeal to you and you’ll come back.
But now there’s some further wrinkle to this. There always is.
There are people, as you know, who are aggressively ordinary. And this is a peculiar phenomenon in the United States. Well, we very much in this country believe in being natural. And so we feel uncomfortable with ceremonies and with dramatic behavior or dramatic clothes or anything like that.
We feel that that’s too much. It’s showing off.
So reminds us of the aristocracies of Europe that persecuted our ancestors, I suppose.
And so we we we like things in this country to be folksy. And so we we we many of us were sort of beat up close and especially wealthy people. You’ll find no wealthy people on vacation will wear real beat up clothes, jeans and a T-shirt and so on.
And look as grubby as possible because that’s natural.
So that’s now. And so also then when people realize that they’re there in a very they’ve come to a great exalted insight and they’re gonna bring it down to earth, they realize they shouldn’t be aggressive about it.
They’re gonna be as natural as possible. But you can spot just like that that their naturalness is funny.
It’s put on. So I would say to to be natural, really. You don’t have to put on any special guys or something for protecting yourself against other people.
But you have to do is to do what you like in the sense that really well, what you like play what role you like so far.
As long as you’re comfortable with it for yourself and don’t care whether it’s natural or not, then it will be natural.
Don’t try to be natural because immediately one can detect the seriousness of.
So now this brings me to the last question.
In view of the whole problem of the social adaptation. Unitary consciousness of the world as a total harmony on the one hand and our ordinary, normal consciousness of the world as an intensely competitive system, gravely serious disputes. We’re discussing bringing these these things together, fertilizing the one point of view with the other. What are we going to do? So far about the practical problem of psychedelics. I pointed out at the beginning that we the whole subject falls between two stools because as a whole, neither the clerical professions nor the medical profession are ready for it.
And this is true even of that aspect of the medical profession, which is strictly psychiatry.
The divorce of psychiatry and religion, and it is, generally speaking, a divorce. There are exceptions to this where clergy, for example, in many theological schools are trained in psychiatry and there are a number of small smattering of psychiatrists who are members of some kind of religious group. But by and large, psychiatry is attempting to be a pure science without any religious commitment at all.
And I get the feeling again and again and I talked to a great many psychiatric groups and I talked to them endlessly about methods of therapy and this, that and the other. But I realize I get with it. I realized a lot of it with a funny intuition.
They are completely superficial. They don’t even know what therapy is, what they’re aiming at.
And so often this is not always the case. Therapy means success in getting a person to behave like everyone else. And to give him the same sort of tastes that everybody else has. So that he’s a safe norm.
But even when this is not the case and many therapists say who follow Maslow, Carl Rogers and our most brilliant men, I still get this feeling that psychiatry is dying on the vine for lack of any metaphysical foundations.
Now, I said I was going to say again something about statistics.
Such statistics as there are are showing up today shows that psychiatrist psychiatric treatment by using other methods than the drugs they’re using in asylums to quieten people down, psychiatric treatment is extraordinarily ineffective.
Samples show approximately that of any control group.
One third of the psychiatric patients recover from their symptoms in three to five years, and one third of patients under the care of a general practitioner receiving no psychiatric treatment also recover inside three to five years.
And those who were under the treatment of the psychiatrist came out a good deal poorer financially. I don’t want to say this in a way as belittling the seriousness and the skill with which many psychiatrist are trying to study their problems.
But they do have an abominably superficial concept of the human organism and of the human mind.
One would think that a psychiatrist would be eager, above all, to explore every possible modification and state of human consciousness. We should be expert. He should know his way around inside all of them.
Just as a linguist wants to master many languages so a psychiatrist should master many madness and many mystical states. He should run the whole gamut from mystical vision to catatonic schizophrenia and know them all from the inside, because then he is in a position to communicate with his patients. He cannot communicate while he remains a mere professor of psychiatry. See? Psychiatry is not something that you can study like the history of Persian pottery.
It’s all out there and it’s objective and science on an it never had to get involved to be a therapist.
Effectively, you have to be right on the inside. You have to get mixed in with it. And even though this may you may lose a certain objectivity in scientific impartiality by doing this, you what you’ve got to acquire is the art of being able to get involved and then come out again and be scientifically impartial and then get in again.
That’s difficult, but it’s worth trying. But the reason you see the psychiatrist is afraid so often to get involved because he’s scared of losing his own sanity. And he knows, you know, that we walk on pretty thin ice so far as our sanity is concerned. And so don’t muck around that.
He’s seen too many of his colleagues work for a long time in asylums who had to be quietly removed to another eye socket. That happens all too readily.
But it is the fear of insanity more than anything, which makes one insane fear of getting lost in all those strange corridors and bad dreams where you’re going through mazes, corridors, worrying whether you ever get out without anybody.
What crazy people have an awful time with that corridor syndrome because there are other corridors of the mind.
Therefore, there is a certain protection of one’s sanity in being able to go into various states and above all, what I as I said a little while ago, a moment ago, was that the thing that strikes me about psychiatry so forcibly is its lack of a metaphysical foundation.
In which you see it is simply imitating the fashionable point of view of scientism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. To push across the point of view that this universe is trivial.
It is nothing but whatever you want to say, nothing about something or other, definitely nothing but desperately important to get everything down to nothing, but so that we can say no mysteries left about this matter associated with it.
And that said that that said and a manifestation of hostility you see of hatred of life lying under that, because aged people were too afraid of letting themselves go to be able to admit that they could look at this well and say, wow, look at that.
Isn’t that marvelous? Oh, really interesting.
Do you think you think these things are marvelous?
But it is as if it’s not sophisticated because you see one of the one of the the games of aristocracy in Europe is always to look bored. And there are all sorts of you could put a whole history together of how people copy the attitudes of their superiors in order to get one up. So if it’s good to look, board was a mark of extreme aristocracy and great wisdom. The scientific world, which was a part venue, then imitated a bored attitude to everything so as to gain its status or involved in different. And so that they had no reason to be bored. They were just imitating people. And the aristocrats had some reason to be bored. I’d seen everything that had all pleasures. They were blasé.
So look at psychiatry in turn picked up. The attitude is nothing, but it’s just the libido or something and or it’s just mental mechanisms or is just neurochemistry or something like that. One of the funniest things about LSD is that maybe it’s just neurochemistry, but by when you get inside, neurochemistry is something if you think chemistry matter.
Good heavens, what are your nervous system? You suddenly it is like a conducted tour inside the nervous system. You begin to realize that the nervous system is one of the wackiest things going. It’s fantastic. You can’t just dismiss it as a nervous system as of nasty porridge in a bottle.
So then this is the thing.
I think that the crucial point that has to be developed before we can handle these substances intelligently is a medico religious rapprochement. And that means reforms on both sides and they are beginning to happen.
You know, you’re probably aware that there’s a huge theological ferment going on in both Catholic and Protestant churches and among the Jews. The top’s blown off the occasional references to it in the paper. But my clergy friends are thinking things today that they couldn’t possibly be thinking about 10 years ago.
They’re as revolutionary as almost any group I know. You should talk to the local rector here in Sausalito or any crowds of them all over the place. Things are happening.
And what is essentially happening is that they are consciously facing the fact that they need a kind of religion which is much more profound than anything they’ve hitherto been dealing.
And they are open to the dimension of religion, which has been consistently ignored for centuries. Which I’ll call the mystical dimension of at last. Admitting that religion is not just believing certain ideas and following certain patterns of behavior, but must indeed involve the transformation of consciousness, not in the sense of an emotional blow out like a revival meeting, but something which involves a crucial change in the sense of human identity. There is therefore weaving together at this time a whole pattern of movements. More and more it becomes in the biological and ecological and physical sciences clear that the individual is inseparable from the cosmos.
That after all, you are an expression of everything that’s going on.
You know, something that rattles around in this universe that came into it as a stranger from somewhere else. And so that behind the facade of everyday consciousness, there are depths of oneself just as truly one’s self as your own will, which altogether go beyond your individual organism. And that these we can become aware of these depths, and as we do so, become delivered from being plagued by impermanence and death and temporary suffering.
The psychiatrist has to know this, too, because if he sits in his office and has nothing under in his belly, you know.
That is the what I would call the certainty of eternity. Somewhere here.
He’s really just as neurotic as the person he’s sitting with and is putting on a mask attitude, looking wise, playing the scientific role, distance of objectivity, not get involved with the patient.
Use all the little tricks when he’s really wet behind the ears. You know, you learn a whole bag of tricks. Even if you’ve been through a didactic analysis yourself, you can just have a whole domain of trickery, therapeutic gambits. There’s a little underneath.
So I think that some psychiatrist should be ready to take their medicine.
I mean, LSD. And just for an introduction.
To the realization that there are more things in heaven and earth than I dreamed of in your philosophy.