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How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Daniel M. Ingram 8/12/19 10:28 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Chris Marti 8/12/19 8:12 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan shargrol 8/12/19 7:27 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan curious 8/13/19 3:15 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Chris Marti 8/13/19 6:39 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Stickman2 8/13/19 7:01 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan terry 8/16/19 5:42 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Stickman2 8/17/19 5:26 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/17/19 6:43 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan terry 8/17/19 12:33 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/17/19 1:38 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan terry 8/17/19 12:30 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan terry 8/17/19 12:47 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Lars 8/13/19 3:42 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Daniel M. Ingram 8/13/19 4:34 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan shargrol 8/13/19 6:23 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Chris Marti 8/13/19 7:08 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/13/19 3:13 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan spatial 8/13/19 3:34 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Lars 8/13/19 3:25 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/13/19 3:32 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Lars 8/13/19 6:16 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/14/19 7:34 AM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Lars 8/14/19 1:33 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/14/19 2:45 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Anna L 8/13/19 10:03 PM
RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan terry 8/16/19 5:26 PM
I just finished listening to How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan, a book about the history, science, politics, and other issues related to psychedelics. It is well-researched and well-written.

I read it due to my interest in putting the stages, states and experiences we talk about here more squarely on the scientific, medical, psychological, and popular culture maps, and those doing this for the world of psychedelics are the closest obvious allies to learn from. The book is a cautionary tale of what can go right and wrong when one attempts to shift broad cultural understandings and paradigms. It is also something of a masterclass in strategy, tactics, messaging, and the like, particularly if one pays attention to what organizations like MAPS have done in the last thirty years or so and the progress they have made despite enormous legal and cultural pressures.

Listening to it was also an exercise in appreciative envy, as the world of substance-enhanced spirituality and phenomenology has vastly more studies, departments dedicated to it, international conferences, institutions, funders, publications, and the like than the deep end of the world of non-substance-enhanced spirituality. While obviously plenty of DhO members are involved in both worlds, and that's fine, I couldn't help but think it ironic that those of us who typically prefer the more pedestrian path of long hours of practice to generate unusual experiences rather than taking something have failed to make anything the progress that the theoretically less socially-acceptable and often illegal side of the isle has.

How to change this? What would it take to catch up with the MAPS kids? I get that spending 150 hours practicing is never going to be as popular as the 2 seconds to 30 minutes it takes to get altered by using a substance, but still, we should be able to do better than this. Any thoughts welcome. So odd to be coming to the "Institution Building" phase of life: may that go as well as it possibly can.

In other news, started reading "The Stormy Search for the Self," a book about spiritual emergencies and emergences by Christina and Stanislav Grof, and very much appreciating the work done by them but also how much of their useful tech and the tech they base their tech on is being threatened by the drifting sands of time, at least for my and presumably younger generations.

My thoughts this afternoon while eating pizza and drinking sparkling water in a pub in Cambridge, UK. Any musings welcome.

Daniel

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/12/19 8:12 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I'm reading the hard copy of Pollan's book right now - it's amazing stuff, and I share your envy on the amount of study and resulting information that's available in the psychedelic realm vs the phenomenological meditation realm.

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/12/19 7:27 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Out of curiousity, how do they frame the studies? To me that's the tricky thing for scientific study -- finding the right markers, endpoints, null hypothesis, etc. to frame a study. (Hopefully it's not the social science approach of coding the words used to describe effects and then doing stats on the language??)

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 3:15 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Haven't read the book but I wonder whether as a discipline they might have it a bit easier than us. That is, people tend to perceive meditative progress as an 'ego' achievement (ironic, I know), whereas when taking entheogens 'credit' must presumably go to the substance not the 'individual'. I suspect that particular dynamic would reduce implicit primate competition, making cooperation a little bit easier.

Still, to engage with the question ... is there merit in doing the same things? Organising meetings? Proposing falsifaible hypotheses? Setting a research agenda? Generating funding? Running some tests? Publishing some results in the peer reviewed literature? Maybe a research trust is needed. 

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 3:42 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Most people don't know what Vipassana or Samatha are, or equanimity, sukha, dukkha, piti, even terms like concentration don't mean exactly what they usually do. Maybe a very simple pragmatic scientific meditation method should be created that develops a specific factor (based on existing techniques which are known to be effective). No pali or sanskrit words, no mantras or deity visualizations, simple pragmatic practise with results articulated using simple common terms. Then study the effects of that method so the results are easily understood by people with no meditation experience. Don't study master meditators, study normal people. If some change can be reliably demonstrated in regular folks and easily communicated maybe it would get more attention. Once you have the attention then you can move on to the more interesting stuff. It's a tough sell though, you're competing against Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll.  emoticon

Look at CBT, they basically repackaged and relabelled meditation techniques without all the "woo" and not only was it studied but it's now in common use and well known.

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 4:34 AM as a reply to Lars.
Part of the problem is that, out past the stage of Mind and Body, there is no way to do without the woo, even if you describe it in the least woo terms possible. Our society values control, stability, normalcy, ease, peace, and the like, and the stages out past Mind and Body don't offer those readily. Even Equanimity can have all sorts of aspects that don't fit the standard story of what is supposed to be good and proper.

As to qualitative sciences rather than hard ones, counting words is not always entirely crazy. I could go into a lengthy description of why, or not.

As to qualitative sciences being functional, Shargrol, you yourself participate in a forum where, based on horribly imprecise language, we diagnose and give all sorts of advice, just like we physicians do in medicine and they do in psychology and psychiatry. Thus, one must examine one's biases regarding the value of words and how they are used, and see if perhaps we functionally aren't going against our own biases all the time.

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 6:23 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Okay, maybe the "just count words" critque was overly reductive... but I'll go back to my main point that it's the frame that really matters. In a lot of social science nothing papers, it becomes a tautology: they count words, develop clusters/bins that are statistically separate, then say "look, development follows this pattern"... but this is just a statistical analysis, doesn't contain a null hypothesis, etc. It's akin to over-fitting a model with many variables --- yes it predicts the past, but how do you know it predicts the future? 

When giving advice I have a several frames of reference that I layer on top .. just for fun, off the top of my head:

Style of attachment
Degree of personality disorder
Maturity of coping mechanisms
Developmental stage within Cook-Greuter's stages of ego development
Feeling of "fit" of current practice
Consistency of practice
Understanding that exploring current experience is "the point", i.e. look at problem itself, don't search for solutions
Balance of effort vs. allowing
Nana within progress of insight
Ability to allow vipassina jhanas instead of normal "clarity"
Basic understanding of 6 realms (for gross orientation/corruption of sitting practice)
Ability to expand equanimity to all experiences, even vagueness and confusion
(First Path)
Repeat of above, but including broader acceptance of confusion due to vipassina jhana/jhana
Eventually making distinctions between repeat nanas/fruition of first path and the new territory of the road to 2nd path
(Second Path)
Ability to let progress of insight slip into the background, yet still see it.
Ability to use off-cushion reactivity as practice, never not-practicing
Review of basic psychology attachment, repression, coping mechanisms - can't delay fixing anymore
Review of stages of ego-development... should be moving toward advanced stages - can't delay fixing anymore
Focus on tautological aspects of identity especially:
  Deep Understanding of six reams (identity based on basic motivation, in terms of 5 to 30 seconds of experience)
  Understanding of basics of 5 elements (primal reactive patterns, in terms of 1-2 second of experience)
Deep trust/allowing
(Third path)
Ability to be honest about "there is still something left to figure out"
Ability to turn orientation to practice itself into a study/practice
Ability to do "no distraction, no control, no practice"/mahamudra/dzogchen
Very deep understanding of 5 elements (in terms of micro-seconds of experience)
Deep honesty/sensitivity
(Fourth path)
And deep honesty post-Fourth emoticon

You see what I mean? Lots of overlapping frames because it is so multi-dimensional. Progress can be hindered in so many different ways and applying the right frame at the right time seems to be the most important thing for giving advice.

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 6:39 AM as a reply to curious.
Reading Pollan's book can help clue you in on the parallels between the study of psychedelics and the study of meditation. Both have challenges; both are considered "woo-woo" areas, both are subject to crackpots and fakers, both suffer from a lack of objective measures (it's all in the head, you know). The book is mostly about the history of the study of psychedelic mushrooms and other substances, and how at first it was a very positive area of study, then crushed under the weight of the U.S. government ban in the 1960's and then resurgent in the 1990's to present. 

I encourage the read  emoticon

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 7:01 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
people tend to perceive meditative progress as an 'ego' achievement (ironic, I know), whereas when taking entheogens 'credit' must presumably go to the substance not the 'individual'.

Hm, and harder to think of enlightenment as a reward for earned merit if it comes from a pill. Probably why many object to it.

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 7:08 AM as a reply to shargrol.
In a lot of social science nothing papers, it becomes a tautology: they count words, develop clusters/bins that are statistically separate, then say "look, development follows this pattern"... but this is just a statistical analysis, doesn't contain a null hypothesis, etc. It's akin to over-fitting a model with many variables --- yes it predicts the past, but how do you know it predicts the future? 

The "can you predict the past and the future" problem is one I deal with all the time using econometrics. It's generally possible to create models that can adequately predict the future but the quality of the underlying historical data used to construct the model is critical. Reliable and accurate data is much easier to come by in "harder" subject areas, though even in economics there are black swan and other unpredictable events like wars, economic bubbles and natural disasters. I don't envy social science researchers.

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 3:25 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Part of the problem is that, out past the stage of Mind and Body, there is no way to do without the woo, even if you describe it in the least woo terms possible.

Agreed, I can't deny the "woo", but my point is that it shouldn't be the focus of initial studies. When studying the effects of caffeine on altertness it may also be noticed that it has a diurectic effect. When reporting results of the study the focus would be on altertness, not the diurectic effect. Similarly in a meditation study perhaps it would be better to focus on more mundane things like average cortisol levels in meditator versus non meditator, galvanic skin response or pupil dilation when exposed to stressful stimuli in a clinical setting etc. Anything like "study participant reported a change in the perception of subject/object relationships" could be noted, but wouldn't be the focus, and wouldn't be included in summaries of the study.

CBT uses meditation techniques but isn't intended to lead to A&P or SE etc. It's generally used (and studied) in more mundane ways like quitting smoking, learning to cope with stressful triggers or emotions, dealing with insomnia etc. I'm suggesting a similar approach, and once there is sufficient funding and interest, then you can start including the more "woo" stuff in later studies (but again using as pragmatic and neutral terminology as possible).

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 3:13 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Formulating and testing a hypothesis isn’t suitable for all types of research aims. It requires more of an experimental design, and exactly how would one put together the test groups and control groups? Spiritual quests involve so many different variables, and human beings are complex creatures (Chris put that more eloquently). An experimental design would lack ecological validity. As for Daniel’s project, there is a massive amount of naturalistic data (data that would have been produced even if there were no study in place) available. It would be a shame not to use it. I agree that a mere statistic analysis wouldn’t do it justice, but testing hypotheses isn’t a valid option. The strength of this data corpus apart from the quantity and variety is the contextualization that it enables, both with regard to developments over time and with regard to an interactive context. It is important to bear in mind that the posts here are not written in isolation, but in dialogue. If treated as isolated reports, that’s a methodological weakness. People here tend to learn certain forms of lingo. That’s a possible bias. If treated as the community-based interactive process that it is, that context is a huge advantage. People’s spiritual journeys are collective accomplishments (dualistically speaking). The interaction is essential both for how practices take shape and for how they are framed in reports (even if what happens as the path progresses is universal, which I guess is what the study is aiming at - certainly a valid aim but methodologically more tricky to access with this kind of data, or at least to prove it). I would apply a dialogical perspective to study the spiritual path in the context of the online sangha and let the universality be a hypothesis for future research to test. As a complement to the more statistic part of the analysis, I would make use of the interactive dimensions of the data to study in more detail some carefully chosen process trajectories and some forms of interactive patterns that the coding (if possible) has showed to be essential for the process. But then again, studying interactive processes as they unfold in naturalistic data is what I do for a living, so I totally understand if that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Also, it would probably be very time consuming - but fascinating! I could point to a couple of dissertations on online communities, if that would be helpful for that part of the methodology.

Empirically driven aims are not tautologies. They are what makes it possible to see things in the data that one didn’t imagine beforehand, that is, thinking outside the box, or discovering that there was no box. However, it is essential to present the research process in a way that makes clear how the conclusions were made and account for all possible biases due to the study design. That’s where many researchers fail.

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 3:32 PM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
Daniel M. Ingram:
Part of the problem is that, out past the stage of Mind and Body, there is no way to do without the woo, even if you describe it in the least woo terms possible.

Agreed, I can't deny the "woo", but my point is that it shouldn't be the focus of initial studies. When studying the effects of caffeine on altertness it may also be noticed that it has a diurectic effect. When reporting results of the study the focus would be on altertness, not the diurectic effect. Similarly in a meditation study perhaps it would be better to focus on more mundane things like average cortisol levels in meditator versus non meditator, galvanic skin response or pupil dilation when exposed to stressful stimuli in a clinical setting etc. Anything like "study participant reported a change in the perception of subject/object relationships" could be noted, but wouldn't be the focus, and wouldn't be included in summaries of the study.

CBT uses meditation techniques but isn't intended to lead to A&P or SE etc. It's generally used (and studied) in more mundane ways like quitting smoking, learning to cope with stressful triggers or emotions, dealing with insomnia etc. I'm suggesting a similar approach, and once there is sufficient funding and interest, then you can start including the more "woo" stuff in later studies (but again using as pragmatic and neutral terminology as possible).


I’m not sure I understand... what would be the point of focusing on results from meditation that are not the purpose of meditation?

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 3:34 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

When giving advice I have a several frames of reference that I layer on top .. just for fun, off the top of my head:


This all sounds very fascinating to me. This is probably off-topic, but I want to know more about:

shargrol:

Eventually making distinctions between repeat nanas/fruition of first path and the new territory of the road to 2nd path


and:

shargrol:

Deep Understanding of six reams (identity based on basic motivation, in terms of 5 to 30 seconds of experience)
  Understanding of basics of 5 elements (primal reactive patterns, in terms of 1-2 second of experience)

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 6:16 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I’m not sure I understand... what would be the point of focusing on results from meditation that are not the purpose of meditation?

To get people interested and paying attention. Many people will scoff at any attempt to discuss or study spiritual stuff, but if you can show them that a certain practise reliably reduces stress levels and makes emotions easier to deal with (or help them quit unhealthy behaviours that they've struggled with), they may actually be interested. Once you have shown them that it has more mundane benefits, you can move on to the more "spiritual" stuff.

A monk asked, “Master, why do you say that mind is Buddha?”
Mazu said, “To stop babies from crying.”
The monk said, “What do you say when they stop crying?”
Mazu said, “No mind, no Buddha.”

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/13/19 10:03 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
My 2c:

There is much more homogeneity within the psychedelic community. Meditation communities are highly fragmented and tend to cluster around specific techniques and charismatic leaders. 

Meditation also has very direct links to religion, which will always pose a problem for secular research. Yes, psychedelics induce mystical states and probably have been used historically within the big Five religions, but in general they are associated more with indigenous communities and counterculture drug use in the West. While associations with illegal drug use pose an image problem - it is a secular image problem, and drugs can always be re-marketed within the secular medical paradigm. 

Psychedelics are also easy to operationally define - a compound is a compound - whereas there are a seemingly infinite number of meditation techniques (not to mention much in-fighting regarding which one is the most "superior"). 

How do you operationally define " the deep end of the world of non-substance-enhanced spirituality." Start there. 

In my personal and biased opinion, I would start by picking fire kasina as a technique, as this is a technique that seems to reliably produce "deep end" effects in terms of visuals that can be consistently replicated. Investigate FK in the same way that mindfulness has been studied - it's pretty easy to make candle gazing secular. We need a Jon Kabat-Zinn of fire kasina ;)

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/14/19 7:34 AM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I’m not sure I understand... what would be the point of focusing on results from meditation that are not the purpose of meditation?

To get people interested and paying attention. Many people will scoff at any attempt to discuss or study spiritual stuff, but if you can show them that a certain practise reliably reduces stress levels and makes emotions easier to deal with (or help them quit unhealthy behaviours that they've struggled with), they may actually be interested. Once you have shown them that it has more mundane benefits, you can move on to the more "spiritual" stuff.

A monk asked, “Master, why do you say that mind is Buddha?”
Mazu said, “To stop babies from crying.”
The monk said, “What do you say when they stop crying?”
Mazu said, “No mind, no Buddha.”


But then it isn’t really spiritual stuff they are paying attention to, but something watered down into yet another therapy. Either that or it’s false advertising. What if people accidently get into the woo woo stuff and freak out?

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/14/19 1:33 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
As I mentioned before I was suggesting doing something similar to CBT, and then expanding the scope to include the spiritual stuff. However I did a little research into the dark night aspect of CBT and was surprised to find:
Following this process, the researchers estimated that 43 per cent of
clients had experienced at least one unwanted side effect from CBT,
equating to an average of 0.57 per client (one client had four, the
maximum allowed by the research methodology): most often distress,
deterioration and strains in family relations. More than 40 per cent of
side effects were rated as severe or very severe, and more than a
quarter lasted weeks or months, though the majority were mild or
moderate and transient. ‘Psychotherapy is not harmless,’ the researchers
said. There was no evidence that any of the side effects were due to
unethical practice.Examples of severe side effects included:
‘suicidality, breakups, negative feedback from family members,
withdrawal from relatives, feelings of shame and guilt, or intensive
crying and emotional disturbance during sessions’.

Thing is, the freak outs can also occur due to psychedelics, so those studies also have that risk. Even "proper" meditation stuff can cause it (Goenka comes to mind). That said, I don't think my idea was the kind of thing Daniel was looking for, so i'll bow out of the conversation.  emoticon

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/14/19 2:45 PM as a reply to Lars.
Yup. In order to avoid the woo woo stuff, one needs to water it down substantially... Interesting finding!

I understand your point of view but I would personally prefer to reclaim the woo woo stuff and also make sure that people know more about what they may be getting themselves into. When it comes to drugs, I would guess that the risks are more commonly known, but maybe I’m wrong there.

Thanks for replying to my questions! I appreciate the possibility to get more acquainted with other perspectives than my own.

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/16/19 5:26 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I just finished listening to How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan, a book about the history, science, politics, and other issues related to psychedelics. It is well-researched and well-written.

I read it due to my interest in putting the stages, states and experiences we talk about here more squarely on the scientific, medical, psychological, and popular culture maps, and those doing this for the world of psychedelics are the closest obvious allies to learn from. The book is a cautionary tale of what can go right and wrong when one attempts to shift broad cultural understandings and paradigms. It is also something of a masterclass in strategy, tactics, messaging, and the like, particularly if one pays attention to what organizations like MAPS have done in the last thirty years or so and the progress they have made despite enormous legal and cultural pressures.

Listening to it was also an exercise in appreciative envy, as the world of substance-enhanced spirituality and phenomenology has vastly more studies, departments dedicated to it, international conferences, institutions, funders, publications, and the like than the deep end of the world of non-substance-enhanced spirituality. While obviously plenty of DhO members are involved in both worlds, and that's fine, I couldn't help but think it ironic that those of us who typically prefer the more pedestrian path of long hours of practice to generate unusual experiences rather than taking something have failed to make anything the progress that the theoretically less socially-acceptable and often illegal side of the isle has.

How to change this? What would it take to catch up with the MAPS kids? I get that spending 150 hours practicing is never going to be as popular as the 2 seconds to 30 minutes it takes to get altered by using a substance, but still, we should be able to do better than this. Any thoughts welcome. So odd to be coming to the "Institution Building" phase of life: may that go as well as it possibly can.

In other news, started reading "The Stormy Search for the Self," a book about spiritual emergencies and emergences by Christina and Stanislav Grof, and very much appreciating the work done by them but also how much of their useful tech and the tech they base their tech on is being threatened by the drifting sands of time, at least for my and presumably younger generations.

My thoughts this afternoon while eating pizza and drinking sparkling water in a pub in Cambridge, UK. Any musings welcome.

Daniel


aloha dan,

   I haven't read this one, but I read pollan's "the botany of desire" not too many years ago, and it was well written and insightful, as far as it goes.

   I used psychedelics extensively in my youth, and rarely since, but I never thought any of the "experiences" I had while stoned were in any way comparable to actual cessation. Perhaps the "maps kids" are deluding themselves. Like envying a kid because he got to go to the circus and we didn't. Tell us, kids, about the elephants, the monkeys, the clowns.

   Of course, I never thought of meditation as having those effects either. The chief advantage I obtained from regular meditation was in learning to stay awake in the absence of stimulation, and to appreciate the peace of silence which is always here. The practice of detaching from concerns makes detaching from concerns easier.

   Insight comes and goes, like flowers, sunsets, and rainbows. A map to insight is like a map to the treasure at the end of the rainbow. Like unicorns, like the brotherhood of man, such maps may have mythic functions. But myth is not science; science is to myth as myth is to science.

   It is interesting that mary shelley, author of one of the few really durable modern myths (alongside the sorceror's apprentice and faust), titled her work "frankenstein, the modern prometheus." If we were to succeed in putting spirituality on a scientific - that is, value-free - basis, we may find our that our titanic aspirations are hubristic. Like constructing an elevator to heaven. One only goes round in samsara. 

terry

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/16/19 5:42 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
curious:
people tend to perceive meditative progress as an 'ego' achievement (ironic, I know), whereas when taking entheogens 'credit' must presumably go to the substance not the 'individual'.

Hm, and harder to think of enlightenment as a reward for earned merit if it comes from a pill. Probably why many object to it.


aloha stick,

   Mullah nasrudin went to a bathhouse one time. He dressed in his usual style, rather unkempt, and the bathhouse attendants treated him with disdain and gave him a thin towel and so forth. After his bath, the mullah gave them a gold dirham for their trouble. The next week when he returned to the bathhouse, he was given every courtesy, a plush towel, fine unguents and the like. When he was finished he gave the attendant a copper obol. The man was angry, and spluttered that the mullah tipped gold last time, and this time he was treated much better. Nasrudin told him, that tip was for this time, and this tip is for the last time.

   Perhaps enlightenment is a reward for what we will do in the future, not what we have done in the past. And don't look for any further rewards, which will not be forthcoming, this side of the veil.

terry

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/17/19 5:26 AM as a reply to terry.
Perhaps enlightenment is a reward for what we will do in the future, not what we have done in the past. And don't look for any further rewards, which will not be forthcoming, this side of the veil.

I don't think I ever thought of reverse causation in merit and reward. What if the divine can ignore the arrow of time ?

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/17/19 6:43 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
When one thinks about it, backward causality and forward causality are pretty much the same in one sense. Let’s assume that someone awakens thanks to something that they will do later. Those actions are at the same time done to reward the grace of having awakened. So which occurring is the cause and which one is the effect?

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/17/19 12:30 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
Perhaps enlightenment is a reward for what we will do in the future, not what we have done in the past. And don't look for any further rewards, which will not be forthcoming, this side of the veil.

I don't think I ever thought of reverse causation in merit and reward. What if the divine can ignore the arrow of time ?

you're getting warmer...

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/17/19 12:33 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
When one thinks about it, backward causality and forward causality are pretty much the same in one sense. Let’s assume that someone awakens thanks to something that they will do later. Those actions are at the same time done to reward the grace of having awakened. So which occurring is the cause and which one is the effect?

like chickens and eggs...

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/17/19 12:47 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
Perhaps enlightenment is a reward for what we will do in the future, not what we have done in the past. And don't look for any further rewards, which will not be forthcoming, this side of the veil.

I don't think I ever thought of reverse causation in merit and reward. What if the divine can ignore the arrow of time ?



   Let's us ignore the arrow of time.

   I lived my life in forward time, getting older and older, before encountering the void, and have lived backwards ever since, getting younger and younger. I'm looking forward to toddling, diapers and drool. And disappearing into the womb, on my reverse birthday.

terry



from "he" by franz kafka:


He has two antagonists: The first pushes him from behind, from his origin. The second blocks his road ahead. He struggles with both. Actually the first supports him in his struggle with the second, for the first wants to push him forward; and in the same way the second supports him in his struggle with the first; for the second of course forces him back. But it is only theoretically so. For it is not only the two protagonists who are there, but he himself as well, and who really knows his intentions? However that may be, he has a dream that sometime in an unguarded moment—it would require, though, a night as dark as no night has ever been—he will spring out of the fighting line and be promoted, on account of his experience of such warfare, as judge over his struggling antagonists.”

RE: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Answer
8/17/19 1:38 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
When one thinks about it, backward causality and forward causality are pretty much the same in one sense. Let’s assume that someone awakens thanks to something that they will do later. Those actions are at the same time done to reward the grace of having awakened. So which occurring is the cause and which one is the effect?

like chickens and eggs...


Yup, that thought did arise.