Psychedelic Atheism?

Discussion in 'Psychedelics' started by DrummingJoey, May 8, 2013.

  1. DrummingJoey

    DrummingJoey Member

    I've noticed that a lot of psychedelic users here are very spiritual and sure of a higher power. I've had a good half dozen or so trips now and although I feel very connected to the universe, I have never felt connected to a higher power. My latest trip resulted in my realization of singularity, that being about time and space being physical and real, and that every event is with us forever and is always in the same place. That made me realize that death is not something to be frightened, since life is just a space I occupy. However I didn't feel like there was any kind of afterlife, or that the singularity I realized was god-like. Are there other psychedelic users who are connected to the universe in an atheistic way?
     
  2. TopNotchStoner

    TopNotchStoner Georgia Homegrown

    Psychedelics have played a huge part in my realizing that I don't believe in any god/gods, but I still feel very connected to, and very much a part of, the universe. That makes me feel very significant and insignificant at the same time. It's a beautiful thought:)

    Check this out, if you haven't seen it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D05ej8u-gU"]The Most Astounding Fact - Neil deGrasse Tyson - YouTube
     
  3. guerillabedlam

    guerillabedlam _|=|-|=|_

    My initial LSD ego-death experience made me embrace the prospects of an after life, however relatively soon thereafter my initial Salvia Divinorum breakthrough experience showed me that the possibilty of an afterlife could potentially be absolutely frightening. Over the years, I've experienced much more nuanced trips with those Psychedelics as well as many others, that sort of have strayed me from that initial "heaven and hell" type dichotomy of those formative trips. I've come to recognize that my consciousness seems vastly different on all these ego-dissolving experiences, so it's hard for me to imagine a cohesive sense of consciousness persisting into an afterlife.

    As far as higher power(s), having experienced the plant spirits of San Pedro and Mushrooms and the hyper transforming entities of DMT, I remain skeptical yet open to the possibilities of amazing beings/forces that are not necessarily readily perceptible. However, I don't believe any of this phenomenona demands worship and I can justify these phenomena in a less mystical sense, so as of now I identify with atheism.
     
  4. TopNotchStoner

    TopNotchStoner Georgia Homegrown

    Exactly(great post, btw). On a logical level, we know that these phenomena are the result of brain activity, as opposed to being even remotely related to anything supernatural. That's not to say the psychedelic experience doesn't FEEL spiritual though, and it can teach us a great deal about ourselves and our role in the world/universe that we're a part of.
     
  5. ariekanibalie

    ariekanibalie Member

    Though I've steered clear of a McKenna dose, I've had some intensely profound trips in my time - but none of them have ever suggested anything like a 'higher power' or even connection to a greater whole. They've in a way been 'phenomological' trips, disrupting my 'natural' cognitive systems in the way, I feel, that modern art 'deconstructs' the constituents of nature, or rather, 'naturalistic' art. Again, maybe I've just not taken enough, or not the right kind of entheogens - it's always been psilocybe cubensis for me, since they're readily available from smart shops where I live, and I've 'befriended' the little things over the years - but I suspect you require a certain 'talent' for the kind of raving spiritual revelations some psychonauts speak of. If not a more gullible nature as well. Or just have to be so childishly egotistical as to deem incomprehensible that what YOU happen to 'see' during a trip, is the way things 'really' are, and everyone else just needs to take a better look. Sorry, magical thinkers of the hip forums, but a hallucination is always going to be YOUR hallucination, and if you can't own this, well, maybe it's time to lay off the instant magic carpet rides for a while.

    Basically, I'm a rationalist at heart and, as such, attached to the reality principle. I do tend to come out of a good trip with a renewed appreciation for the sanctity and frailty of existence - but again, that's precisely WHY I consider myself an atheist. I feel to posit an afterlife or reincarnation and such malarkey, is a cop-out, a cheap way out of the awesome existential burden that is knowing all this is transitory and your life and that of those you love is ending one moment at a time.
     
  6. MeatyMushroom

    MeatyMushroom Juggle Tings Proppuh

    I think those experiences, and the fact that we have the material sciences to rationalise those experiences, are(/is?) exactly.. uhh.. "the higher power*"... the continuous unfolding of "thisness", "it" stands outside any boxes or definitions that we can come up with.. or something like that.

    *But I don't like this phrasing because it implies a hierarchy which implies entities, and yeees, we can be considered entities, but that's too definite for my liking. There is a formless form, which everything helps form in a formed formlessness... or something like that.
     
  7. TopNotchStoner

    TopNotchStoner Georgia Homegrown

    Nice post:)

    Many psychedelics induce a ridiculous amount of pareidolia, which is defined as "a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus(often an image or sound) being perceived as significant". Those who are determined to believe exactly what they've been taught to believe, and are unwilling to question those beliefs, will view many psychedelic phenomena as affirmations of their faith in fairtytales and superstitions.
     
  8. NoxiousGas

    NoxiousGas Old Fart

    Doesn't it really depend on your definitions of "spiritual", "God" and "afterlife".

    A spiritual experience doesn't have to be about God, Heaven/Hell or any of that stuff.

    My horrifically painful mushroom trip (reported here as PB) that focused on my relationship with my daughter was one of the most profoundly spiritual and enlightening psychedelic experiences of my life, but God was nowhere to be found during the course of it.

    I have also had experiences where such questions of God and existence and all that were central to the experience.
    What I have come away with is a much broader definition of the concept of God and spirituality than I previously had.

    About these experiences being "only chemical reactions", what in our experience is not conveyed to our conscious mind via chemical reactions?
    Is it so far-fetched to consider that there may very well be some state of awareness that lends itself to better "communicating" to some higher being or dimensional entities.

    Concerning afterlife, well first we need to ascertain what constitutes "I" and if it is a discrete type of or collection of energy.
    Thus far from our observations we know that energy/matter can be neither created or destroyed, just altered.
    If what constitutes "I" is a discrete form or collection of energy, does it continue on yet not constrained by material entanglement, or does it simply dissipate into the background radiation?

    Given that and that we are some form of energy intertwined with a material form, an afterlife is also not that hard to fathom.

    Everything is in a constant flux of creation and dissolution and is inexplicably interconnected and everything is as it should be at any given moment, regardless of our perspective.
    That is the predominate "message" I get with most all psychedelic experiences.
    What is getting interesting is that advancing theories in physics are beginning to arrive at the same type of conclusions.

    Again, it really depends on how you define "spiritual".
     
  9. TopNotchStoner

    TopNotchStoner Georgia Homegrown

    Great post. I'm gonna focus on your point about how one defines the "spirit". The "spirit" is supposedly what makes up our personality(our emotions, our empathy, our likes and dislikes, our loyalty, our sexual preference, etc.). From a logical standpoint, we know that the "spirit", or "soul", basically amounts to nothing more than chemical and electrical synapses in our brain and nervous system. When a person's brain activity ceases, everything that makes that person who they are, as an individual, completely ceases to exist.

    In terms of an afterlife, the only afterlife I can imagine is the recycling of energy.

    As far as "god" is concerned...........I think Lawrence Krauss said it best:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Jf-uQQnEyw"]Forget Jesus. The Stars Died So You Could Be Here Today - YouTube
     
  10. Mr.Writer

    Mr.Writer Senior Member

    It depends how you define "god" and "spiritual". My "god" is nothing like the abrahamic god of major religions. When you say "My latest trip resulted in my realization of singularity, that being about time and space being physical and real, and that every event is with us forever and is always in the same place. That made me realize that death is not something to be frightened, since life is just a space I occupy", I think to myself that you have come into contact with the godhead. I don't think of it as "higher power", because that implies hierarchy. God is the gristle under a snail's shell. God is you realizing the singularity; god is the singularity; god is also you.

    I am both atheist and pantheist. If asked by an abrahamic believer, I am agnostic; to the question "is there a big father figure in the sky who has rules and opinions", I lack data (though proof towards it is essentially non-existent IMO). But is there "godness"? Is there anything holy in this universe? Is there anything sacred and to be worshipped? All of existence.
     
  11. Jimi2007

    Jimi2007 Member

    I am an atheist, and I found this question interesting. Long before I tried any psychedelic I always heard people talking about how it brought them closer to God(s), or it generally was just a very spiritual experience. When I trip I indeed have no spirituality. In fact, it's really not surprising that the trip would reflect the individual's personality. Tripping for me is still, however, profound, and any notion that psychedelics are only for religious or spiritual people (or that they get more out of it) is ridiculous. For me when tripping, I think about how amazing it is that I'm made up of atoms, and that all of Earth and everything I know is also atoms, and that we're living on a giant clump of matter, where other bits of matter came together to form DNA and life, which we still don't fully understand in the least. Really, just any science blows my mind, I can think about anything from astronomy to geology, and it all is just so beautiful to me. It's like on psychedelics, I can truly see and feel how amazing and beautiful the universe is. When sober I still think that, but on psychedelics I TRULY feel the beauty and magnificence of science and the universe around me. I feel the whole God connection with psychedelics is nonexistent, it's just that psychedelics greatly intensify your emotions and cause a lot of other (very fascinating) chemical reactions in your brain. So, naturally, for someone like me, thinking about science or history while tripping is incredible and mind blowing, while a person of faith would have a similar experience but with thoughts on their respective deities instead.

    I'm not really sure how common this thought is, but I've also heard people speaking about psychedelics as gifts from God, or that they're a way to see reality for what is really is. For me, I just recognize that what I'm taking is a drug that slightly alters my brain chemistry, allowing me to view the world in a new way. This seems most common with mushrooms, where people who believe in a higher power will say something like "I cannot believe [insert higher power(s)] has given me this beautiful gift, the world is so amazing", whereas I'll say something like "I cannot believe that after millions of years of evolution this small fungi began to produce a substance that has such an amazing effect on the human brain, the world is so amazing". I mean, humans are so limited in how they perceive the world,,, there's so much going on around us, yet we only have a few ways of processing that information (ie, photons for our eyes, sound waves for our ears, etc). And then when you consider how many filters your brain has so it can properly handle that information it is constantly getting, and that psychedelics largely turn these filters off, it's not a surprise to me that many people interpret the effects as some sort of spiritual connection. It's even less surprising when you consider that some people find messages from God on their burnt toast... the fact is, humans are constantly seeing what they want to see, and psychedelics change your perception in so many ways that obviously different people will have different interpretations of that. But as I said, as an atheist I see it as straightforward and scientific... you take a drug, it alters your brain chemistry, crazy things happen for a few hours, then it's done.


    So, that's my experience at least.
     
  12. gendorf

    gendorf Senior Member

    ME.
    i actually saw the devil once when i was tripping. but i told him to fuck off.
     
  13. MeatyMushroom

    MeatyMushroom Juggle Tings Proppuh

    ^ Cool, can you elaborate?
     
  14. gendorf

    gendorf Senior Member

    I think i actually wrote about it here when it happened.

    long story short: 2c-e.
    I decided to get rid of useless stuff and rewrite my brain. Just browsing and throwing stuff into the garbage.
    There are a lot of Meme-s floating around in the brain.
    (look it up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme)
    Most of them are useless..
    so i started erasing..
    Boom there goes Jesus, boom there goes God. Ya..know.. just flushing the concepts from my head.
    And when I got rid of god i saw a little devil monkey climbing up on the frame of my window. Ya know horns, smoke, red eyes all that thing.
    Like the small devil creatures from movies. Interesting visual.
    And then a smiling mouth appeared in the center of my minds eye vision.
    Asking: What do I want for my soul?
    And my answer was: Fuck off.

    Stuff like this happens when tripping hard.

    Like one time when I saw a grim reaper. I took a few hits of acid and the ride was quite nice. Getting deeper and deeper as it hits me in waves.
    So I was looking and suddenly the grim reaper appeared in the darkness. from some sort of mist. (big coat, skullhead, scyte all teh usual stuff) And it was pointing its finger at me.
    and i was like. Allright! take me! Im ready to die.
    and then it went pufff.. disappeared. "didn't take enough for that ride". screamed the goblin in my head.

    or like this one:
    (sorry if its boring, its fun to write)

    I was eating these really potent hash brownies. and these give me strange visual activity.
    and so i was really high and i saw two little buglike (very small) creatures swimming in my vision from left to right. building it up. Like my vision gets rendered from the sides and these thing just swim over and leave a trail of pictures. (sounds crazy)
    and i actually heard them talking. Unintelligible. Quixikuhataksuwaxi and the other replied Kawamekuhimanitti ... and then as I observed them they suddenly changed to English. Shouting: Oh SHit he Is seeing us!! Lets scram!
    and they disappeared.

    I guess ppl are not supposed to see the elves.
     
  15. MeatyMushroom

    MeatyMushroom Juggle Tings Proppuh

    Crazy shit
     
  16. gendorf

    gendorf Senior Member

    Today
    I saw a Little Time Travelling Jack Sparrow. Good times are rollin by!


    Its summer. Go crazy"
     
  17. absentwithin

    absentwithin Member

    Well i've had probably over 100-doses or more stopped counting in the eary 90's lol in my life span so far and I never felt closer to god pers say but i felt much closer to the Earth and everything else living around me which in a way is kinda "god-like" But i do feel there is something out there of a higher intelligence than us as well wether this be god or some higher being is hard for me to say i'm still searching for that answer and it has been a long strange trip so to say.. I've dabbled in some occult type stuff in my past and the whole wicca thing as well neither one provided the same sense of awakening as a good dose per say.. I'm not afraid of death nor the afterlife it is what it is not much any of us can do about it i doubt being overly religous will secure any better standing in what ever comes after death.. just a hapless wanderers idle thoughts best of luck to you in finding whatever might be out there for you....
     
  18. Hedgeclipper

    Hedgeclipper Qiluprneeels Nixw

    My trips haven't necessarily suggested higher powers, but they have led me towards openness to the idea that there might be other powers out there and that whether or not they are some deep part of my personality, there are conscious entities out there that i can communicate with inside my head, but that are distinct and seperate from my own consciousness. Though psychedelics haven't lead me to believe in a god in the classical sense, they have often made me watch impossivle things happen right before my eyes.

    They have showed me the interconnected structure of the iniverse and, through this interconnection, I have witnessed things that I would have previously thought to be magical or supernatural in sone way -- but the psychedelics taught me of the logic and balance behind this magic (im talking about things many of us have experienced through psychedelics like foreknowledge and speechless communication and the discovery of information through inexplicable sources).

    As for a god, psychedelics have shown me that the universe functions on a basis of interconnected systems of opposing forces and on the micro and macrocosm. The hindus have words for some of these concepts like brahman and atman. My experiences have certainly steered me clear of the idea of god as a conscious entity-- of the classical god of monotheistic religions. But they have turned me pn to the idea that there exists a sort of a process that we all take part in and that that process, itself, is god like. I believe in the soul amd that the soul takes pArt in the process and that collectively all of our souls might give this process its own sort of a soul...

    As for life after death, psychedelics have often made me think I'm already there -- that thought tends to make for bad trips.
     
  19. porkstock41

    porkstock41 stay positive and love your life ~311

    GREAT post, but i don't think this part is completely accurate. i don't think there is evidence for "filters" on our brains, or that psychedelics remove them.
    i think it's more like our brain ignores certain information (i guess that's a filter..) and fills in A LOT OF gaps, based on past experiences. on psychedelics, our brains fill in the gaps a little differently, based upon the chemical binding to receptors in your brain.
    just semantics, but i'm just trying to say i don't think psychedelics actually remove filters.


    i don't believe in God, but i do think that psychedelics have helped me become more spiritual. much like things people have already said...i feel more connected to my fellow humans, to life in general, to the earth, to the universe and to myself.

    i think "god" is in nature, god is in everything. the fact that life happened is pretty fucking amazing. something might be behind it, and if that something is "simply" billions of years of chance.....then that's pretty cool too.
     
  20. guerillabedlam

    guerillabedlam _|=|-|=|_

    There is still a lot unknown in regards to psychedelic pharmacology but the brain does have designated "filters" and there are theories regarding psychedelics effecting them.

    http://www.livescience.com/33167-how-acid-lsd-make-people-trip.html
     

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