CFI Portland Meetup Group Message Board General › Drug use?

Drug use?

Bernie D.
BernieDehler
Hillsboro, OR
Post #: 824
On Thur. 8-4-11 we are going to discuss "religious naturalism":
http://www.meetup.com...­

This reminded me of how some people like to take drugs as part of their religion, such as some Native Americans:
http://en.wikipedia.o...­

Sam Harris (atheism advocate) wrote a blog article on the benefits of drug use:
"Drugs and the meaning of life"
http://www.samharris....­

So it got me to thinking about the use of drugs to experience non-supernatural 'spiritualism' as an atheist/agnostic.

Excerpt from Sam Harris:
"Needless to say, if I knew my daughter would eventually develop a fondness for methamphetamine or crack cocaine, I might never sleep again. But if she does not try a psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD at least once in her adult life, I will worry that she may have missed one of the most important rites of passage a human being can experience."




Thomas
user 7617990
Portland, OR
Post #: 26
Yeah, I haven't read the article yet. But the part Sam Harris mentions about his daughter and lsd being a profound experiential rite of passage reminds me of an element that is not emphasized enough in CFI Portland meetups: experience. At least until recently. And this is associated with non-supernatural spirituality. Our experience of things is the first in a step of conclusions a scientist takes in understand things, when deep, engaging science is being done.
I almost went to a non-CFI meetup one time last year, a meetup which was centered around gathering at someone's house who had prepared a batch of a kind of legal Mayan chocolate with powerful ingredients in it. The idea of the meetup was to relax in a room and eat the chocolate until it got you high and a little trippy and then to talk as a group about the meaning of life and the universe and what your experience was like.
I would have gone, but the meetup never transpired..
Wes
Wesley-M
Portland, OR
Post #: 53
Very interesting! As an evangelical for 46 years, since I was 14, I missed all the usual experiences with alcohol and drugs. I never had so much as a drink of wine until I was 35 years old, when I went to live in England. So, I'm 63 now and never been drunk or high a single time in my life.

Since I'm no longer a christian I've lost the moral prohibitions that all "substances" were evil and against God's will. I don't need to experience being drunk, as I witnessed my dad's drunk spells enough before he converted to christianity. But I am still a little curious about the marijuana experience, and slightly less the psilocybin and LSD. The closest I've come is the limited supply of Percocet when I was recovering from open heart surgery. That was quite nice! But I don't know if I can go as far as Sam Harris, that I've missed a "right of passage" during my lifetime.

What do you folks think? Dr. Jon, what do you think?
A former member
Post #: 131
Harris thinks that's an important "rite of passage"? (or just important, period)? Almost any human (maybe Shirley Maclaine is the exception) misses out on SOMETHING in his/her life--some epicurean or gustatory or painful or climatic (not climactic, although that enters in too) process; most people miss out on MANY things, because it's difficult to live in EVERY place and try EVERY kind of music or activity or language or comedy or sport or discussion. Harris sees hallucinogens (I think he's saying?) as important to perception and development, and I know Ken Kesey and Hunter Thompson would have been in that camp too. Bernie brings up a really interesting topic.
Jeremiah
user 8968791
Beaverton, OR
Post #: 4
As someone who spent my college days exploring the use of psychoactive substances, I know it had a dramatic effect on my world view. But it seems to me that these experiences effect each person differently. I have not read the Sam Harris article (YET) but the quote defiantly shows me where he is coming from.

The thing is psychedelics show the user how the brain can change the way it processes sensory input. It may give you a glimpse into how our ancestors who were not human may have experienced consciousness. Psychedelics very likely is a key catalyst to the beginnings of religion. So when taken in a religious context, such as peyote, the experiences has the likely effect of strengthening faith.

On the other hand when taken as part of a personal exploration, it has the effect of being like a mirror, exposing you to your deep sub-conscious while still conscious. With-out experienced guidance (a baby-sitter) this can be quite horrific and possibly dangerous. Most psychedelics are not dangerous, but disorientation due to the flood of information entering the consciousness from the Id can cause unexpected behavior.

It reminds me of the conversation that Luke Skywalker has with Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. When he asks Yoda what he will find in the mysterious cave, Yoda responds "Only what you take with you."

All this being said. I think that psychedelics are an archaic tool for understanding ourselves when used with the proper care and respect. Instead kids can get LSD from a dealer and do it at a rock concert where they may collapse in astonishment as fractals shooting out of the overpowered speakers penetrate their shocked visual cortex.

Religious context such as the Lakota peyote ceremony can give balance and an extremely rewarding personal experience. Yet the same can be said about the secular process laid out by Timothy Leary and others of proper mind set and environmental setting (not a rock concert).

What we lack in our culture is a way to use these mind and sensory expanding drugs with a context that allows for safety and personal growth. Religion offered that, now it has been replaced by a party. This is a sorry substitute. But because of prohibition laws no culture of modern mind expanding drug use has been developed enough to be available to most of the uninitiated.
A former member
Post #: 8
What an interesting topic. As someone with very little experience with drugs, I do feel like I missed out on a rite of passage. Lane, although your point is a good one, many things considered to be rites of passage are not experienced by all. There is something about doing things at a certain age. I'm sure that women who have children in their 40s and 50s miss things that their younger counterparts enjoy- almost as a rite of passage.
Bernie D.
BernieDehler
Hillsboro, OR
Post #: 840
"As someone with very little experience with drugs, I do feel like I missed out on a rite of passage."

I don't think drugs are a "rite of passage," as if the best time to take them is when transitioning from kid to adult. Drugs can be for anyone. As Harris says, though, after using some for awhile, they can get old and/or nasty. But lots of people seem to like their wine, the legal drug.
Bernie D.
BernieDehler
Hillsboro, OR
Post #: 841
"I almost went to a non-CFI meetup one time last year, a meetup which was centered around gathering at someone's house who had prepared a batch of a kind of legal Mayan chocolate with powerful ingredients in it. The idea of the meetup was to relax in a room and eat the chocolate until it got you high and a little trippy and then to talk as a group about the meaning of life and the universe and what your experience was like."

That sounds like fun. Maybe we should schedule that meetup. I'm not aware of good mind-altering drugs that are legal. I don't know anything about that Mayan chocolate.
A former member
Post #: 134
I remember that meetup with the chocolate but I forgot which group it was. Theobromine would be my one chemical addiction. Well, except that my chemist son would point out that we ingest chemicals all day long...H2O....etc. I live with a literalist, and he just asked me "What's NOT a chemical???? Duh. Maybe we could say an element is not a chemical..."

Frenzied dancing induces altered states of consciousness, as do quite a few other things.

I have no experience with what most people term "drugs" -- i.e., non prescription and/or alcoholic. I reiterate; I think this is an interesting topic.

A former member
Post #: 135
Just by coincidence I see here a survey noting rates of marijuana use by state....Alaska comes in first, Oregon is sixth. Washington isn't in the top 10.
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