The psychedelic explosion is a subject on which we need a great deal more careful thought and a great deal less emotion because it’s a very touchy subject. I’m going to talk this morning about the general background of this explosion so as to put it in some sort of perspective in time and space. And I have here a letter little card that I received. It says, Dear Mr. Watts, are you enlightened? If you are, would you please help me? I want to be enlightened also. Yours truly Miss So-and-so. Age 15. And as we know, the psychedelic explosion is something which is highly prevalent among young people and is a quest very largely on the part of young people for something which civilization as we know it in the West seems to have failed to supply. Now, what’s the matter? The matter is fundamentally one of religion. It is that standard brand religion in the Western world is a very dreary affair. That in effect, what one gets from a church of whatever denomination, be it Catholic to the right or Southern Baptist to the left, is almost entirely preoccupied with moralizing. And when you study the subjects of sermons that are preached Sunday after Sunday, you read the newspapers and see what they’re talking about.
You generally form the impression that what the churches in fact are are sexual and family regulation societies. That’s what they’re actually doing.
Because if you say someone is living in sin, it doesn’t usually mean that he is following the profession of a bookie or that he is conducting a business which is profoundly dishonest and selling things that are just frauds. It means a person living in sin is living in an improper or unconventional sexual relationship. And when we speak of a morality, it really doesn’t refer much to cheating. Your customers are being intensely cruel to someone or running a factory which is fouling the rivers. Immorality is generally taken to mean sexual irregularity.
I remember when I was a boy in school that every year we had a particular preacher who came to us to preach the same sermon every year, and the subject was drink gambling and M.R. out and the immorality of gods meant sexual irregularity.
Well, in one way or another, with certain exceptions, the official churches of the West are saying to their congregations, Sunday after Sunday, Dear people, you ought to be good with a rather limited meaning.
What good is it? And I often wonder what my devout Episcopalian brethren mean when they say the general confession before the Holy Communion and say that we have sinned most grievously, and that the remembrance of these sins is grievous unto us and the burden of them is intolerable. I wonder what they think of. I used to be an Episcopalian priest. I suppose I still am. And as a result of that, I often used to hear confessions. And I know the sort of things people confessed and I know them very well what their idea of sin was.
And in all this history of not only Western Christianity, but to a very large extent, Judaism as well.
There has been an extraordinary and curious failure to emphasize the value of what we could call spiritual or religious experience. The Jewish people are very largely occupied with manners and morals out of the ritual of obeying the Mosaic Law. The Christians are preoccupied with other things besides, the Christians are very much preoccupied with what you believe in, whether, for example, you believe that Jesus Christ was in fact God. Whether you believe that Jesus Christ was the only unique incarnation of God. Whether you believe that the Godhead is a trinity.
Whether you believe that the sacrament of the altar, the bread and wine consecrated at the mass are in fact the body and blood of Christ are only represented. And they have fought with each other. They have cut each other’s throats. They have waged crusades. The Thirty Years War, all these things were tremendous fights about doctrinal questions that the mayor have, course, have been some other motivations behind it. But at any rate, this was the subject matter that stirred people to fighting anger.
And in all this history, the Catholic Church in particular and other churches in lesser ways have ignored, excluded or actively persecuted people that we call mystics. That is to say, those who have had a change of consciousness, which in effect induces the realization that you yourself are not a weird little creature that is a subject and nothing more than that of the heavenly king.
But the experience that you yourself are a direct manifestation of the ultimate reality, or what politics is called the ground of being, which was it is particular, I would say decontaminated praise for the word God, because the word God in our culture has all sorts of extremely unfortunate associations. When clergymen talk about our heavenly father, anybody under the age of 30 squirms. Have you made Jesus Christ your personal savior? All these questions you see have a kind of a creepy connotation to them. The churches endeavor to attract young people by all sorts of devices, by having dances and parties and any kind of goings on, even happenings in the more advanced churches today. But young people know very well that the object of these happenings or socials or whatever it is to attract young people is honey to catch flies. And that finally the minister is going to take you aside for a serious talk. And that serious talk is going to be about your morals and about what is your relationship to your heavenly father. You say your prayers. Do you read your Bible? You know, your prayers. And your Bible is a ghastly phrases.
So the thing that is signally missing and it doesn’t matter whether it’s Catholic or whether it’s Protestant is the central function of religion in changing consciousness, because it’s quite apparent to everyone that something is wrong with ordinary consciousness. And what is wrong with ordinary consciousness is reflected in ever so many casual phrases that we are accustomed to use, such as I like to forget myself. I want to get away from myself. I want to feel that my life has some meaning. And I find that meaning.
For example, in joining a movement, whether it be political, religious or whatever. Something then is apparently wrong with oneself as oneself is something that you need to forget. If you feel when you’re alone, hopelessly anxious and bored, what’s wrong with you?
Why is yourself so intolerable to.
You can’t really well love your neighbor as yourself unless you have some love for yourself. If you don’t have any love for yourself, you don’t have any star or a fountain of love in you to give to your neighbors. And all this preaching of be good, be good, be good and love everybody. Everybody recognizes, yes, it would be wonderful if we could love our neighbors. Great. But how do you do it when you hate yourself? And the church is never explained, except, as I say, with some very rare ministers and special rather far out types of church.
So there is in the history of Christianity in particular, an exclusion and there has been from the very earliest times an exclusion of what is called God knows this.
And this has a complex history, which I’ll go into a little because it’s quite important to our whole subject. There were in the early history of Christianity, some subsets that were called Gnostics.
And they emphasized that the important thing was not belief, not so much even action, but knowledge. It had you. Could you attain to the actual knowledge of God, of the ultimate reality of the universe?
And many of the Gnostic sects offered this knowledge.
The problem with many of these sects was that they felt that the knowledge of God was contingent upon the renunciation of the world. That is to say, upon asceticism, upon celibacy, upon trying to separate one spirit from involvement in body and in matter, and therefore of agnostics classified three types of human being who were respectively called high like h y l I see from the Greek L.A., which means wood the wooden people.
Next there were the psychic people from the Greek sea, meaning the soul. And then finally there was a pneumatic people from the Greek plasma, meaning the spirit, the breath. And only pneumatic people could really expect to attain salvation because the lowest people were absorbed in their bodies.
The middle people were absorbed in their egos, the psyche and but the superior people were absorbed in the spirit, and they were aloof from all material concerns. And there were two kinds of pneumatic people, according to the sect of Gnosticism, to which you belonged. On the one hand, there were, as I have said, the very, very spiritual people who tried to divorce their attention from all matters of the flesh. But there were the other people who said that the flesh is real and therefore what you do in the flesh. That simply doesn’t matter. And they will. Libertines and the official church disapproved of both of them, and rightly in a way, because they said of the people who were the aesthetics that they had missed the central point of Christianity, which is the doctrine of the incarnation that in the person of Jesus Christ, God had become man, and the spirit had adopted the flesh, and therefore a reasonable, fleshly existence was quite proper. And that remains to this day, a tenet not only of Judaism, which holds it very strongly, but of Orthodox Catholicism, however much Catholicism may deny this in practice. It has to adhere to it in theory. And Jews especially believe that the material world is the positive creation of God and therefore is good and is to be enjoyed thoroughly.
And that is why Jewish food is, on the whole, very good in this country and better than Christian for a good Jewish delicatessen has a kind of lip smacking, robust attitude to eating. And, you know, is it kosher?
Jews will even go so far as to admit that God created the principle of evil because it says in the book of the Prophet Isaiah in the seventh verse, in the forty fifth chapter, I am the Lord, and there is none else.
I found the light and create the darkness. I make peace and create evil. Either Lord do all these things. And so Hebrews believe that God put into the heart of Adam something called the Yeti Sahara, which is the spirit of way witness, which I translate as the element of irreducible rascality that is involved in every human being. But it isn’t. It’s only a little bit. It’s like a touch of salt in a stew. And you don’t, of course, put salt through the holes, do you? Just put a pinch and God put a pinch of whey witness, of disobedience, of unpredictability and therefore evil in the heart of Adam. And that is the reason why Jews have a very subtle, itchy sense of humor is that they recognize this. Christianity, on the whole, with certain exceptions, is devoid of humor. A man like G.K. Chesterton is a humorous Christian. But they’re very rare. Whereas a Jew can talk to God with a certain kind of banter and you see that in a play like the Fiddler on the Roof.
Well, and you see it throughout the literature of. Which is full of very funny stories about spiritual things. And you can talk back to God in a kind of a friendly way. But a Christian finds that difficult. Christian is too impressed. And it’s very strange how Jews have escaped from this since they are in a way responsible for the part of the trouble about religion in the West, which is that they they foisted upon themselves and upon all of us a model of God which is patterned after the great tyrant kings of the ancient Near East.
After David, after pharaoh, the Pharaohs of Egypt.
After the great law givers us like Hammurabi, of the ancient world of the Tigris Euphrates civilizations, and particularly even the second Isaiah, who wrote the book of the Prophet Isaiah from chapter forty onwards, he was very beholden to the then Cyrus of Persia, who invaded the Babylonian Empire and set the Jews free. And so this word, Cyrus, is the Greek curious, which means the Lord, the King, as in the prayer curia it lays on. Lord Have Mercy Upon US. And the title of the. The Emperor of Persia. In those days was the King of Kings. And this title was adopted through Isaiah as the title of The God of the Hebrews.
The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
And so the model, the conception of God under which all these religions have operated is one that is essentially monarchical and political.
And so the human being is taught to view himself as the subject of this independent, extraterrestrial spiritual prince who is definitely authoritarian, definitely paternalistic. You were, therefore, according to both Jewish and Christian theology, brought into being by a fiat of the divine will out of pure nothingness.
And you’d better watch your step, because if you don’t accord with the divine will, if you displease this ruler, you can be not only instantly annihilated, but the much more fearsome possibility. You can be condemned to the celestial dungeons forever and ever and ever. And so you must cultivate spiritual obedience and humility by considering yourself a miserable worm, a nothing whose entire existence is contingent upon the divine pleasure.
And you must never, by any means, commit the final ultimate blasphemy of, say, I am God in Arabic and I’ll hug.
The word of the Sufis, the Islamic mystics in Persia, which spread right through the Islamic world.
And they were always being persecuted and put to death and tortured because of unknown heart. I am Allah.
You see, while such a heretic from the standpoint of Judaism, when Jesus claimed as an end that he was one with God, I am the father are one before Abraham was, I am. I am the way, the truth and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. This was the reason why he was crucified. Really? He outraged Jewish piety. And you can see that Jesus is the case of an individual who had a very profound mystical experience and was hard put to it as to how to express that experience in the terms of contemporary Jewish theology. He more or less concentrated.
I mean, apparently if you examine that and study the gospels very closely, he admitted that he really was one was a father to a select circle of disciples. What he said in public was that he was the son of man. And this title meant the the supreme prophet. The expression son of in Hebrew means of the nature of when you call in modern slang, you call someone a son of a bitch. That means they behave like a bridge. And so in Hebrew or in Arabic, you have such expressions as a body called which means son of a dog. Anyhow, Hamar, being the son of a donkey means you are. You’re a dog, you’re a donkey. But son of means like. And so Jesus calling himself either the son of God or the son of man. Use both expressions means the one who is of divine nature.
Son of God and son of man means the essentially human the man. The second. Adam, the regenerate. Adam. But he had a terrible time. Is he expressing these ideas? Because if you are brought up. In a culture where the prevailing cosmology is monarchical and you have the mystical experience, you are very liable to make claims as being divine that you imagine are peculiar to yourself.
You have had this experience, and because God is conceived as a commander and a ruler, you are apt to think that you in some sense yourself are now the commander and the ruler of people and of the whole domain of nature.
And you are not apt, as would be the case in India. You are not apt to see that everybody else is in the same situation, whether they know it or whether they don’t.
So because then of the definitely imperialistic and royal and monarchical nature of the conception of God, which has come to us through Judaism and Christianity, mysticism has always been suspect for the simple reason that it sounds as if it was going to create democracy in the kingdom of heaven. And that, of course, is treachery, insubordination, subversion, democracy in the kingdom of heaven cannot be tolerated. And this presents for people living in the United States a very peculiar problem because this country is politically a republic.
And as a loyal American citizen, you have to curse and swear and say that you believe the republic to be the best form of government.
And yet an enormous number of Americans have believed and still do believe and half believe that the universe is a monarchy. And if the court of heaven is a monarchy, then obviously it’s the best form of government.
And how can you then be a member of a republic without serious inner contradictions?
And this lies at the root of the reason why in the United States there is a very serious conflict between church and state.
Or rather, I would say not so much a conflict as a mix up so that we have our laws and our law enforcement officers enforcing commandments which are essentially ecclesiastical. And herein lies one of the great roots of the psychedelic problem.
Consider some other laws which throw a great deal of light on this.
Let’s take the situation of a conscientious objector now until not so long ago. It was a necessity to qualify as a conscientious objector. That you stated that you believed in a supreme being and therefore implied that you had received from the supreme being a commandment that you were not to fight in war or to kill. And this was taken as an absolute. You had to qualify as a conscientious objector to say that the commandment thou shalt not kill means you must not under any circumstances kill another person. And so they always ask you, what if a German soldier raped your mother and cut her throat saying, would you kill under those circumstances or wouldn’t you? Now, the significance of this law. It’s been altered recently, but the significance of it is this that you are saying that you have a conscience against killing or fighting in a war because you have received a you have received orders from a higher echelon of command than the president of the United States, namely from the Lord God.
And this was always the test until quite recently when because there have been a lot of Buddhists around and people like that who don’t believe in a monarchical God and that do believe in conscientious objection, they could not say that they believed in a supreme being, although it’s highly possible that the phrase that the intention of the law in implying the words supreme being was to be vague.
The people who wrote this law. They didn’t know what to say. And so they just used the Vegas phrase they could think of instead of saying God or something like that. They said supreme being a supreme being.
There’s a subtle difference between supreme being and a supreme being like between religion and a religion, God and a God. Is there a God? Is there God? These are two really fundamentally different questions, but that’s the situation.
And therefore, because in the laws of the United States and England and many other Western countries and in the fundamental attitudes of Western religion, there is this sense of God as the monarch. There has been going on for centuries and insidious and perpetual persecution of the rival religions, even though we say that everybody in this country has given religious liberty, that is not true. You do not really have religious liberty if you subscribe to the heretical doctrine that the universe is not a political state, but instead an organism, a living organism in which, just as are all the extremities and differentiated features of the physical body, are expressions of the whole body. A finger, you see, isn’t just part of the body because it’s not like an automotive part. If you lose a finger, kind of screw on a new one, although they’re trying to do that, that they’re trying to put in hearths and the grafting on this, that and the other, that’s terribly difficult to do. Obviously, the the the the organism rejects alien parts. And so you have to give it drugs so that it won’t reject those alien parts. But at the same time, those drugs make it unable to reject all sorts of bacteria that it normally would reject. Therefore, you have to keep a person with a heart graft in an absolutely sterile environment because he won’t be able to resist infection. So but it is a fallacy to see that the human being has parts like a car, because a human being is not a mechanism. A human being is an organism. And an organism functions quite differently from a mechanism. An organism functions in such a way that every part is a complete expression of the whole.
And this, of course, is what Jesus was trying to say when he said to his disciples, I am the vine and you are the branches.
When he put forward the idea of that, you all belong to my body.
The image of the body and the image of the vine is an organic image. Distinct from a political image.
So our problem is that throughout the history of the West, all those who belong to the organic religion or who felt the organic religion have been persecuted.
You see, let’s take the case of the mystical revolution that began with roughly Meister Eckhart in Germany. In that it began in the 13th century, but achieved its maximum force in the early 15th century and eventually became the philosophy of nature as exemplified, say, by gutter. But that are started out in Germany, a movement that included people like Eckhart Taylor, Rice Brook, the brothers of the Free Spirit, Angeles’s laziness. All these people writing from a mystical point of view, and they were very heavily persecuted. Some got by rise, broke up by tallow, barely got by. But Eckhart was condemned, and all for the reason that they experienced oneness or identity with God. Eckhart said The eye with which I see God is the same eye as with which God sees me. The love with which I love God is the love with which God loves me. And Angela Salacious went much further than that. He said If I were to die, God would no longer live, because my eye and God’s eye are one eye. Just as the Sufis in Islam said, as there is no deity but Allah. So there is no pity but Allah.
That is to say, no selfishness. So all selfishness or anus is the anus of Allah. It’s the same as the punish addict saying Touch them. I see you’re at that thou art.
So this mystical movement in Germany flowered into various types of religiousness that spread to England and from England to the United States. Let’s take George Fox and the Quakers.
The Quakers were regarded in their early days as the most dangerous subversives. They, for example, refused to remove their hats in church or in court. They refused to use titles.
And so in Quaker speech, I would always be just Alan Watts. No, Mr. No Doctor, no nothing. Just Alan Watts. And it’s curious, incidentally, how this form of address has become prevalent today, that very many people write letters now. Not dear Mr. Watts, but dear Alan Watts and or whoever it may be. It’s not just if you’re a celebrity.
It’s a very common form of address. Now, the Quakers also, of course, refused to take oaths because of Jesus saying do not swear by anything. Just let your communication be. Yes, yes or no? No. What is more than this comment of evil?
They wouldn’t fight. They wouldn’t try. And armies and they even felt that scripture was not as holy as the Bible is usually held out to be. As they said that there is something else that has a higher authority in scripture, which is the inner light as the gospel of St. John describes it. The true light which enlightens every man that comes into the world.
And if you just put your mind back into the 17th century.
And consider that in those days, the theology of the Christian churches, whether Catholic or Protestant, had four people living in that time the same kind of authority and the same kind of respectability that is today enjoyed by great scientists.
Let’s say you ask a question to the professor of pharmacology at the University of California, the professor of pathology. This is the last word. And on the advice of the professors of medicine, laws will be made preventing you from ingesting certain substances or from refusing to be cured in certain ways, from having certain operations or injection dates on the scientists today as priest and his vestments, instead of being the old fashioned chargeable around color. He wears a white coat and a stethoscope around his neck. Why is that a symbol of this? And so those people, those scientists do see we take very seriously. In exactly the same way people living in the 17th century took the theologians very seriously indeed, because the theologians knew what the answers were. They knew how the world was constructed and what was the proper way to behave.
And so when people like the Quakers and the other people who came out of German mysticism along with them, the Anna Baptists who were against baptism because they felt that salvation didn’t depend on a silly ritual of pouring water on someone and muttering a mumbo jumbo. There were the levels all sorts of sects flourished in the 17th century and were regarded just as today. Hippies and freaks of that kind are regarded as extremely dangerous, subversive people upsetting the morals of society.
Now look what happened. Look what the Quakers have become.
Nothing is more respectable than the Pennsylvania Quaker, a veritable pillar of society that the laws in the United States about religious freedom were designed for just such people as Quakers.
They were individualists. They were far out.
And yet today, when you claim in court that you object conscientiously to war or that you have some peculiar religion with very odd sacraments, they say to you, what church do you belong to that authorizes this? How well established is it? How many members does it have? Can you prove that you were brought up by your parents in this way of life? Because these are the tests of whether your grounds for claiming that you are doing this thing as a matter of religious conscience. This is the test for whether you are valid and thus you are in a frightful double bind, because if you are accused in court of what is generally generally regarded to be a heinous felony, you know, your chances of getting a light sentence are much better.
If you take a guilty attitude, you plead guilty.
You say, I’m so sorry. It was a grievous mistake. I didn’t mean to do it. Please forgive me. Dear God. You know, your chances are better, but if you say I insist that I did this as a religious act, it is in accord with my conscience and I am not guilty. The judge will say your attitude is truculent. And he won’t like you and you’re liable to get the most severe sentence. But this story is as old as the hills. It’s been going on and on. And we never learn from history.
We do the same things over and over again. For example. We all have the horrors about the Spanish Inquisition and how they took Protestants and put them on the rack and with some screw and finally burn them at the stake. And we said, well, we don’t do things like that anymore or we don’t. I invite you to consider mental hospitals.
The new heresy is not of all religious opinions because nobody takes that seriously anymore. The new heresy is oddball states of consciousness.
And if you have an odd state of consciousness and you try to express it to your family, they start looking at you in a funny way and say, are you feeling all right?
And that’s a terrible thing to say to anyone. You know, if you want to put I shouldn’t really tell anyone this, but if you want us to really bug someone and put a hex on them, all you do is you look at them in a funny way and say, are you feeling well today?
And this is yes, I’m feeling fine. Now, I just thought you were a bit pale and so personable and feeling all kinds of squeamishness. And it’s much worse when you question a person’s state of mind because it’s very easy to test.
But in this state, you can take a temperature pulse, have a urinalysis or something. And the doctor says there’s nothing the matter with you. Sounds it does stethoscope on your lungs. Right.
But when it comes to your mind, everything is very vague.
You can get into the most weird Kafka esque situations, not whether you’re sane on the moment you’re challenged to prove that you’re saying you’re on your guard.
And immediately the psychiatrist says why you’re so defensive. Psychiatry is completely diabolical. There’s almost the more I see of it, the less I think there’s any good to be said, for it is a way of bugging people if you arrive for your appointment early. You are defined as anxious. If you arrive late, you’re defined as hostile. If you’re happy, you’re euphoric. If you’re not happy, you’re melancholic. If you’re afraid of something, you’re paranoid. Every conceivable way is devised of putting the patient down.
And when you are admitted to a mental hospital, you you may know all this, but you ought to know the law about these things, how it stands. You can be so easily put in a mental hospital, although the only salvation is that the mental hospitals in California today are so crowded and so understaffed that they’re not wishing to admit anyone. And you really have to be in a state of the screaming meanies to get in, or somebody has to dislike you very much. But you are deprived of all civil rights. You are no longer considered as a person.
You are d personified in a negative sense.
See, there’s a higher D personification when you attain the mystical realization and become one with the absolute and that there is, on the other hand, a lower de personification where you are simply an outcast. This has been true always in India. There were the higher outcasts called the sunny Athens, the holy man who renounced caste and lived a life of poverty and freedom. But they were the untouchables on the other end. Who are the Aborigines? The like, the ETA in Japan.
And so if you go to a mental hospital, you become a lower outcast. You are no longer human. And you get frightened. You get scared out of your wits because you suddenly begin to realise that you cannot communicate with people because they look at you in a funny way about everything you say.
So I wondered what he meant by that and you get real scared.
And so you start to act in a funny way. Which is it? The whole thing. You know, the diagnosis of schizophrenia is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy because anybody puts you in that position and makes you the patsy.
You can’t help acting in an odd way. You say, now, look, everybody, you’re putting a thing over on me.
I’m perfectly sane and say why you so were insisting on it. The thing that is protesting the death, it’s a very difficult situation to be in. Never send anyone to an insane asylum to do anything with them anyway, because that’s the trap.
They get it. And then, of course, because they’re understaffed, you’re ignored. They don’t they really don’t have time to get around to. I know what the problems are. And even very conscientious psychiatrists and insane asylums just can’t get the work done.
So how do you get attention?
Well, you start at being difficult and in the expectation that this will draw attention to you and you’ll get some therapy.
And that doesn’t really work. I’ll tell you how to get out of an insane asylum in a minute. But the.
The thing is that you try to get a. Tension until they they construe all the things you do to get attention as being further signs of insanity, of lack of cooperation. Finally, they throw you in a cell where there’s nothing left to you but take shit and throw it at the walls in order to get some kind of attention. And they see see how far gone.
Now, the way to get out of an insane asylum is very suddenly to flatter one other psychiatrist and cooperate with him to the utmost, not to quickly, but in a sort of gradual way, so as to give him the impression that his method of treatment is working.
In your case, as he wants to write a paper published in the psychiatric journal that showed a certain method, a certain technique is really good, and you will cooperate with that idea and you’ll do everything he tells you. But just in the right with a sudden little subtle resistance to the don’t don’t you, he’ll immediately spot you someone who is playing funny business. If you cooperate completely and don’t do that, but just gently let it be understood that his therapy is working and they’ll release.
Unless, of course you want to go to an insane asylum just so as to have no responsibility and just get out of the whole mess. I think there are some people who do that. But you see, what we’ve got here in this situation is that having a different state of consciousness or because you experience differently from other people.
That’s heresy. And that makes everybody else terribly uncomfortable. And so in you go and then you say, now this is all they say. Well, this is pretty desperate guy. What are we going to do to help us person, you know, in all the kindness of their hearts? What are we going to do?
Well, you can see the inquisitors thinking this problem over to this heretic.
You realize that he is going to be tortured for ever and ever and ever because of his beliefs. And they’re infectious. They spread. They go to other people who will be tortured in hell forever and ever and ever because of what they believe.
What are we going to do? We have reason with them and they don’t respond to reason. Well, let’s apply a thumb screw or something, you know, and see if that will just make the difference. Now is very stubborn. Patient.
It’s a last resort, but we could burn them because they might. Under the torture of being burned, repent and therefore escape everlasting damnation.
And they did it with a kindness motivation, burned up the heretics.
So in the same way in a modern mental hospital, they say, well, we’ll try shock treatment.
You know, nothing is more unbelievably clumsy. It works occasionally because the patient realizes that he had better get out at all costs. But by and large, it doesn’t. And all it is, it is a form of torture.
And if that doesn’t work well, as say, the only thing is to scrape out the front part of his brain.
And, you know, they put an ice pick through the lung, side the eyeball and get it into the front part of the brain and they stir it up. It’s called a prefrontal lobotomy.
And then the person is a happy moron for the rest of his life.
But it’s the same situation all over again. And we have, above all, to watch out in this country for this kind of psychiatric fascism.
Very, very dangerous. And the problem about the political problem today is that the right wing in this country is very mixed up.
They have that they are very opposed to official mental health, mental health programs and all that kind of thing.
And there have some good reasons for it. There are also some very bad reasons because they would send them to jail pronto. The right wing there also have a lot of opposition to taxation and centralized government, which is a kind of beginning of anarchism.
But they don’t mean that.
They mean let’s have centralized government against the people we don’t like. Leave us alone. Tax everybody else, but not us. The wisdom of insecurity for others. So. And here is then a situation in which a for the reasons that I’ve outlined.
Western religion definitely ignores or positively excludes the mystical experience and be a religion plus law, persecute those who are uncool about having mystical experience.
So this double situation.
Has created, in the course of history, an alarming practical situation. Which is that Western man in charge of his tremendous technology. Is using it against life because he doesn’t feel that he belongs in the universe by being identified as an ego, called into being out of nothing and feeling therefore that he comes into this world instead of flowering out of it. He is basically against the world, especially since the death of God in the 19th century, where the new doctrine that follows the authoritarian God, the father.
Is that the universe is a mindless mechanism, and therefore we have to fight it.
And therefore, in any war, the war against nature is naturally commander in chief. Chain of command drawn and the whole monarchical situation starts over again. So as a result of that, then we are using our technology. In an absolutely weird way, this goes, of course, into economic problems as well. You see, since the industrial revolution, it has been possible, increasingly possible with greater and greater rapidity to feed and clothe and adequately house every single person on earth. There is no technical obstacle to that whatsoever.
And but you’ve got to do it by automation to do enough of it. But when you automate things, you put people out of work. So if they’re out of work, they don’t have any money.
And so they can’t buy what the machines produce. So you have huge surpluses begin to pile up. Well, you can’t give them away. What would happen, you say, if you said, well, let us pay the people for the work the machines do?
We said that would be going into debt. Where’s the money going to come from?
Well, the money is originally based on gold.
And this is this is real hocus pocus, because supposing that gold is rather rare and you can’t always find a new gold mine, but yet you are producing millions of tons of butter, milk, wheat, iron, wood, everything you could possibly need. We’ve got to wait to find a gold mine to get all this stuff into circulation. So the only thing they can do is this. People only go into debt in an emergency. So we increase the national debt and therefore circulate more and more purchasing power to keep the economy running by having was the perpetual state of emergency. We must the government has to go into debt because we are threatened by the communists, by the whatever Chinese veto means, anything, anybody. Just as long as we can say there is an emergency, therefore we can go into debt. But actually going into debt is gobbledygook semantically. All you’re doing is you’re issuing credit based on the actual productive wealth of the nation or whatever community is the unit.
But people don’t understand that just as a several hundred years ago, they couldn’t possibly understand that the earth was round and that if you lived in the antipodes you wouldn’t fall off. And so there’s the similar mumbo jumbo and hocus pocus about money. Money is it is a measure of wealth like inches or pounds or grams. And when you discover a load of iron ore, you don’t have to go and borrow a thousand tons from someone before you can do anything with it. So.
In this way that.
The culture is so absorbed with verbiage, with doctrines and religion, with money in economics, with status in politics and with all kinds of manipulation of symbols, that we are not in contact in an aware way with the physical world. We are alienated from the physical world. We are fighting. We are fighting our own bodies. And so therefore, imaginative young people become aware of this and see the disaster all around them. A terrifying depredations of nature. They see it growing and growing. They see the final achievement of great Western physics as the hydrogen bomb. And they say it’s high time for us to get back to reality.
And therefore, naturally, they are accused of peddling hallucinations. But who is under a hallucination?
Look at recently, Congress passed very strict laws against burning the American flag and they did it with great further and all sorts of patriotic speeches and this, that and the other.
While they are by acts of commission or omission.
They are burning up the country for which the flag stands. Allowing continued pollution of the atmosphere, of the water ravaging of the forests. Destruction of wildlife on a fantastic scale.
Only if that doesn’t matter.
You can tear the physical territory to pieces so long as you don’t burn the flag.
And it’s this. This is the hallucination. This is the divorce from reality.
And so I’m not reserving the question for the moment as to whether LSD and marijuana and mescaline and psilocybin and so on and so on. As to whether they are good things or bad things. We’ll put that for the moment aside. But one thing seems to me to be in no doubt at all that something has to happen and happen fast.
If we are to again get people to be aware of physical reality, get in touch with the natural universe with their own bodies, and feel that they are one with all that, because if you feel obviously if you feel that you really belong, that Mark Hamill pies is as much part of you as your own hand, and that these waters around here, that everything is something in terms of which in and in the context to which you exist, then you can take a friendly attitude towards it and you’ll want to use technology in a cooperative way with all that and do on the mountain what the mountain would be like. Now you can look out of this window and you can see right across here.
When I first came here in the summer of 1961. That was a reasonable, beautiful hill. But an idiot called Eichler went in with bulldozers and made it flat terraces. He took the top right off the hill and dumped it down in the bay so that could get extra land. And instead of cooperating with the hill, he treated it as one would treat a flat area so as to build houses on it when it’s perfectly simple to build an adequate house on a hill without altering the hill at all.
Preserve the trees, preserve the topsoil, and you can build it. This is why this happened and that’s happening all over because these people are quite mad. It’s like San Francisco, which is a mass of hills on which they just dropped a grid on pattern and streets that would be suitable for Kansas City. Pay no attention to. They also get streaks that go like this and the cars get lost. Them run runaway and cable cars and everything always troubles. You see this as a symbol of man’s lack of relationship with nature. He doesn’t know how to cook. He doesn’t know how to clothe himself. He doesn’t know how to make love. None, because it’s all concepts. It’s all ideas which are the true hallucinations, bugging our brains.
Those are the real bats in the belfry, not because ideas are not good things to have. The ones they shouldn’t have concept shouldn’t use words. But because one should realize that ideas and concepts and words are purely instrumental. There are things to use, but when you get used by them, then the machines have run away from you, and I suppose they will soon have computers that are breeding and making decisions about their own future.
And we’ll say finally, let’s get rid of human beings that are a nuisance.