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Do drugs bring us closer to reality?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Neale, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. Neale

    Neale Debonaire Rationale

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    In the concept of conservative solipsism (I know, an oxymoron) posited by Bertrand Russell, it is believed that humanity creates their own subjective versions of reality based on "sense data" we receive and process. While not ruling out the possibilities of other, independent existences outside of our own mind, aspects of our conceptual universe are created and subsequently given logical (through our mind's notions of it) grounds for existence. How would we know "hot" without "cold," and so forth.

    When someone is under the influence of psychotropic drugs that alter brain chemistry (such as MDMA, tetrahydracannibinol, LSD, etc.), they are apt to perceive differently - i.e. new "versions" of reality through hightened levels of awareness, in some cases. It's known that throughout religious history, drugs have been used to become "closer" to God/nature/the soul etc.

    So here's an idea...

    Since we've conditioned ourself to perceive our version of reality through an infinite series of subjective sense data, extending the unknown out with logical inductions (for example, if you've never been to Paris, you would assume it would look like the pictures you've seen), then it could be assumed that through the use of drugs, we open avenues of perception (and reality) that would otherwise be closed.

    I think of this concept through the "electromagnetic spectrum" metaphor. Since it's publication, we've discovered that we're only experiencing a tiny, tiny microcosm of what we can now term as "real." Any thoughts?
     
  2. Neale

    Neale Debonaire Rationale

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    And on a sem-related note, here's Philip and Neale's recipe for "Goodness Fudge:"

    Ingredients:
    1 Golden Oreo, broken in half.
    1 Nestle Crunch Ice Cream "Dip"

    Procedure:
    Consume half of Golden Oreo quickly followed by Nestle Crunch Ice Cream "Dip." Repeat until supply of both ingredients are gone.
     
  3. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Some drugs, properly administered, do appear to induce a genuine transcendant experience.
     
  4. Radio Frequency X

    Radio Frequency X World Leader Pretend

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    By this understanding of reality, how do we know if we are getting closer to or further from the truth?
     
  5. Neale

    Neale Debonaire Rationale

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    Yes! Also, there are certain meditative practices that induce the same effect in regards to changes in brain chemistry, which subsequently also yield the same "experience." It all boils down to perception and the subjective experience within those realms.
     
  6. Neale

    Neale Debonaire Rationale

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    Assuming that there is an ontological set of universal "truths," the only thing we would have to base our "distance" on is our perceptive experiences positioned against what we believe as present-time "truths" (i.e. the existence/non-existence of God, our individual set of ethics, etc.).

    By the large, I suppose it could be that since we create our own realities, we also create our own truths within them.
     
  7. Radio Frequency X

    Radio Frequency X World Leader Pretend

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    I suppose, but then one might measure the utility of various truths and question whether or not truths are worth their salt, if they lack utility, practically or personally. I've experimented with every drug I ever heard of over ten years ago, and I found many pros and cons. I doubt I was any closer to understanding reality though.
     
  8. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Agreed. The philosophia perennis is described by meditators, ascetics and hallucinogen users.
     
  9. Neale

    Neale Debonaire Rationale

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    To the top! Any other thoughts?

    I'd like to explore possibilities within perennial philosophies for conscious, drug-aided mindfullness...on the forums, rather! :D
     
  10. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

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    There are plants or chemicals that produce altered-states of cognition, they're a sub-branch of psychoactivess called Enthogens. But taking drugs for religious experience is counter-productive: one is creating an unnatural dependency. Cognitive bliss is of no value if it is only a fix and requires repeated doses: that's just stimulation, not getting to the core of the issue.
     
  11. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    I tend to agree. Technically one could have a religious experience sniffing a cup of coffee. I think the danger of psychotropics is of that of the user relying on the drug (or outside agency) to fulfull the goal. If such things are used simply to familiarize oneself with what is essentially "non-ordinary" reality and then left behind, I certainly see no harm in their use. The other "down-side" to hallucinogens is that the user tends to lose control in that they cannot terminate the experience at will.

    In dreams, meditation and out of body explorations one can generally terminate the experience when they please and suffer no debilitating effects. On drugs like Mescaline or lsd, that is easier said than done as one is at the mercy of the drug and their own imaginations that are effectively splayed to the four winds -- well beyond their control.
     
  12. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

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    Did you experiment with hallucinogenics in the 60's, Paul? Curious...
     
  13. ChrisP

    ChrisP Veteran Member

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    Also chiming in to agree with this. There is a lack of intimacy with the direction of the experience in comparison to the (admittedly mild) similar experiences I've managed to encounter in other ways.
     
  14. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    The precise answer would be no... as it was in the 70's (I was only 13 in 1969, lol). I'll leave this answer to an excerpt from my biography...

    Way back when I was sixteen, such a tender young age, I had inexplicably begun to do research into the subject of lsd. I had never tried it, but it sounded so strange, yet familiar, and my curiosity grew with each book that I devoured on the subject. Within six months I had read most books available at the public library written about lsd at that time. These oddly familiar, bizarre tales spoke of people who thought they could stop trains or cars, and of others who thought they could fly. The strangest tales were of people who claimed to have had what came to be called “peak experiences”. These peak experience accounts were what got my attention the most.

    (a few pages later)

    I hope that you will understand that I had learned as much about my subject that I possibly could. I was not some totally misinformed fool simply playing with a loaded gun. I was a fool who had a pretty good idea about what he was doing as I carefully noted instances where people had had bad experiences and made sure I was never in similar situations. Plus, I had remarkably good karma and a lot of luck. Most fortunately, it was to turn out that I was one of those rare birds that had a distinct penchant for this type of experience. You could call it a natural inclination or predilection. This odd aspect of my personality would take some time to digest.
     
  15. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

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    Can I order it on Ebay yet? :D
     
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