The symbiotic ecology of the psychedelic realm

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The symbiotic ecology of the psychedelic realm

Asher Walden, PhD


Quote:The many seemingly autonomous entities encountered in the psychedelic realm suggest that human consciousness is the result of psychic symbiosis, entailing both personal and transpersonal formative principles, argues Dr. Walden in this fascinating essay.



Quote:What I want to suggest here is that many of the thoughts and feelings we experience as ‘our own’ are not really our own at all, but genetically alien, quasi-independent selves, which exist in symbiosis with the ‘native’ aspects of our conscious lives as described in the Abhidharmic analysis. They are those mysterious and mischievous beings that have been called at various times gods, spirits, angels, demons, elves, archetypes, mass-delusions, aliens, neuroses, and so on. They constitute a rather heterogenous collection of forms of consciousness that have their own psychologies, their own moral principles, their own likes and dislikes. But like the microbiome in our guts, they serve prophylactic and other functional purposes that we are deeply dependent on. If we welcome them as full citizens of our psyche, we will be all the stronger for it.



Quote:The contents of visionary states are widely consistent not only with each other, but with the contents of the world’s mythologies and religions. They include several classes of material experienced as ‘given’: Gods, spirits, angels and demons, and inhabitants of other realms of being; conscious intelligence in non-human actors such as animals, insects, plants and the Earth itself (herself?); Consciousness/Existence itself experienced as unified and purposeful; the souls of others, alive and dead; specific insights about one’s mortal life encompassing healing, moral renewal and vocation. So, from the perspective of the sheer subject matter, it obviously looks as if the stories, myths and beliefs that we think of as ‘religious’ may have their origin here. But what is actually happening here? Are people who take this medicine simply projecting unconsciously remembered myths and repressed wisdom onto the dreamlike stage of visionary experience? Or are the myths actually the literary record of encounters with independent non-physical realities?

The third option, a middle way, is that the experience is literally a manifestation of mind, that is, an opportunity to see the internal structure of one’s own consciousness, and an insight into the nature of consciousness more generally. Up till now, the primary context for describing and interpreting the entities encountered in visionary states has been mythic, religious and/or supernatural. On the other hand, the common denominator in all these categories can be seen as consciousness itself: the appearance of consciousness in unexpected places, and in unexpected forms. The term ‘psychedelic’ means ‘mind-manifesting.’ I want to argue that this is precisely what is happening in these states: the structure of the personal self, the ordinary ego identity, is temporarily stripped away, or at least thinned to the point of transparency, so that the underlying structures and forces that constitute consciousness more broadly are revealed. In this case, the various beings encountered are not independent selves in the way that individual humans (think they) are; rather, they are patterns in the structure of consciousness, best understood (so far) in terms of Jungian archetypes.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2022-09-07, 06:11 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Quote:What I want to suggest here is that many of the thoughts and feelings we experience as ‘our own’ are not really our own at all, but genetically alien, quasi-independent selves, which exist in symbiosis with the ‘native’ aspects of our conscious lives as described in the Abhidharmic analysis. They are those mysterious and mischievous beings that have been called at various times gods, spirits, angels, demons, elves, archetypes, mass-delusions, aliens, neuroses, and so on. They constitute a rather heterogenous collection of forms of consciousness that have their own psychologies, their own moral principles, their own likes and dislikes. But like the microbiome in our guts, they serve prophylactic and other functional purposes that we are deeply dependent on. If we welcome them as full citizens of our psyche, we will be all the stronger for it.


I agree with the above in totality, having experienced this as myself many times.

What scares the crap out of me is that some weekend seminar therapists think they can manage and manipulate people using drug therapy. These people are not actually qualified, and will likely never be qualified, and have no clue what they are doing. They are not shamanic, so without any insight into this type of awareness. 
We are not here for them to experiment with, and they seriously have no clue what this part of our being is capable of.

For those who are wondering, read the article in the beginning of this post.
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(2022-09-08, 01:05 AM)Durward Wrote: I agree with the above in totality, having experienced this as myself many times.

What scares the crap out of me is that some weekend seminar therapists think they can manage and manipulate people using drug therapy. These people are not actually qualified, and will likely never be qualified, and have no clue what they are doing. They are not shamanic, so without any insight into this type of awareness. 
We are not here for them to experiment with, and they seriously have no clue what this part of our being is capable of.

For those who are wondering, read the article in the beginning of this post.

Yeah, I feel like people want to jump the gun, so to speak, when a lot of this kind of work is thought to take years to decades in other cultures.

Ideally psychedelic therapy will help some people though I am wary of the potential downsides.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2022-09-08, 05:22 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: wary of the potential downsides.


These downsides have become seriously obvious in the USA, where you are cured of anything as soon as your health insurance stops paying, if you can get them to cover the costs in the first place. 
People are being prematurely tossed out of rehab, hospitals, etc. while these health services continue to be one of the leading causes of bankruptcy for most citizens.
So, I can't see them doing any therapy correcly or with proper oversight.

What I do see: Many people attempting to self-medicate or using this as a shortcut to try and achieve altered states or Psi "powers"...

I also see that, although they might understand the concept behind these altered states, they will likely never ask for the advice of practitioners who experience these altered states naturally, and likely never use brain scans to see the "before" condition, to monitor changes, and to steer these changes in the correct direction (since they will likely not know which direction is correct). 

They will again rely on "observation" or "judgement" by people who think they are capable of making these decisions for you, while not listening to you, while never following up, etc.
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