Strassman proposes theoneurological model

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
DMT and the Soul of Prophecy (first chapter here)

While the phenomenological properties of the two states overlap convincingly, the information content of the prophetic state appears to be much more highly articulated, enduring, and pervasive as evidenced by the Hebrew Bible’s influence throughout the world over the last 2500 years. The striking differences in the prophetic message versus the DMT one then led me to propose fundamental differences in how the two states come about. This finally led to a novel model of spiritual experience—either prophetic or psychedelic— that works from a top-down rather than bottom-up perspective. The bottom-up perspective is represented by neurotheology wherein changes in brain chemistry give the impression of communicating with the divine, whereas my new model, theoneurology, posits that God communicates with us via the agency of the brain.
eta: Changed first link
 
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#2
He is walking down a dangerous path recently and somehow seems to come out clean on the other side. I am guessing he is able to slip under the radar because his preliminary experiments covered the hard science and left the belief-inspired interpretations out. But now, either as his career advances or he is simply getting more bold, he seems to want to push this to a mainstream audience.

I look forward to seeing how far Dr. Rick Strassman is able to get his ideas out there. So far, I do enjoy listening to or reading his ideas.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
He is walking down a dangerous path recently and somehow seems to come out clean on the other side. I am guessing he is able to slip under the radar because his preliminary experiments covered the hard science and left the belief-inspired interpretations out. But now, either as his career advances or he is simply getting more bold, he seems to want to push this to a mainstream audience.

I look forward to seeing how far Dr. Rick Strassman is able to get his ideas out there. So far, I do enjoy listening to or reading his ideas.
I feel bad for Strassman, as he seems like someone caught between a rock and a hard place. He was basically excommunicated from his Buddhist community for pushing the psychedelic experience as important.

Now he's trying to bridge the gap between the counterculture and Judaic tradition. It's a pretty weird place to find one's self, as a resistance to the Biblical tradition comes almost part & parcel with the culture most amenable to DMT spirituality. Though with the advent of Ayahuasca Churches he might find a home, yet my understanding is said organizations focus either on Christ Consciousness or Gnostic Divine Feminine*.

The man makes me think of the saying that everyone must come out of exile in their own way. Here's to hoping Strassman finds a group to take him out of the cold.

*I do vaguely recall a some Hebrew words that have purportedly appeared to even non-Jews on some psychedelic but I can't recall what this was about. I think it was something Grof wrote about?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#4
Horizons 2010: Rick Strassman, M.D. - “Old Testament Prophecy – A Western Model of the Psychedelic Experience”

Our clinical research with the naturally-occurring human psychedelic, DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) sought to understand the relationship between the psychopharmacology of DMT and spiritual experience. Eastern religious systems, particularly Buddhist, provided the spiritual model which I, and previous investigators, believed would be most relevant to our research. However, unitive experiences of ego dissolution typical of enlightenment experiences were quite rare. Rather, volunteers actively related to what appeared to be autonomous, external alternative realties, while firmly maintaining a sense of personal identity. Old Testament descriptions of prophetic experience are replete with psychedelic content, and comport more closely with the DMT volunteers’ reports than a Buddhist model of enlightenment. This finding provides support for utilizing Old Testament prophetic literature as an alternative, Western model by which to understand and integrate contemporary psychedelic experience. It also suggests a means by which students of the Old Testament may access the state of consciousness out of which emerged prophetic Old Testament text.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#5
Interview excerpt with Rick Strassman

The entire interview can be found in Issue Two of The Nexian, which was previously mentioned in the Psychedelic Resource Thread.

Could you elaborate on your upcoming book, DMT and the Soul of Prophecy, which relates the DMT experience to your study of the Hebrew Bible?

First, I should introduce what follows by noting that my definition of prophecy differs from the general one in circulation. It also differs from the academic and even religious definitions current. I define prophecy as any spiritual experience recorded as taking place in any figure in the Hebrew Bible. While most people think of the canonical prophets as experiencing the typical prophetic state—figures such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah— many non-canonical figures also experienced visions, voices, interacted with God and angels, but did not preach nor leave behind books named after them. In addition, foretelling or forecasting is not necessary for the definition of prophecy. Many people who experienced prophetic states in the Hebrew Bible never foretold, and many canonical prophets foretold but their prognostications never came to pass. Thus, while foretelling may occur within a prophetic state, it is not necessary for its definition. And, many people predict without being prophets; for example, meteorologists.

Two elements of my volunteers’ experiences collided with my pre-existing beliefs regarding the types of states that they would enter into as a result of a high dose of DMT. One was the unassailable conviction that the experience was as real or more real than everyday reality. This conviction was counter to all of the other models I brought to my study: psychoanalytic, Zen Buddhist, and psychopharmacologic. The other was the highly interactive and relational quality of the experiences...
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#7
Thanks for this, Sci. I've been away lately on summer vacation and now that I'm back home it's time to catch up!
His book comes out in a few weeks. I'm curious to see how he defends this view, as the relationship between spiritual communication and psychedelics is definitely an interesting one.

My question is to what extent psychedelics accounted for the revelation offered by the Greek Mystery cults...
 
#8
I'll catch up on that link tonight and get back to you. You're a link nazi, you know lol.But I had time to read a bit and I was curious, Sci. To what extent do you think psychedelics played a role in our imaginative abilities?
 
#11
Thanks for the laughs, Typoz, but I'll use it as I please.
The problem with that approach is that the meaning you thought you were expressing is not the same as the one which the reader receives. In the interests of clear communication, if nothing else, you might reconsider. Blundering one's way through life and causing offence at every turn is certainly a valid approach, but there are alternatives. Showing consideration for others is not without value.
 
#12
The meaning I thought I was expressing is the meaning I wanted it to have. I know some people take offense to the word, and some don't. I'm not going to cherry pick so I don't offend someone who is easily offended. If you're easily offended than perhaps that is not my issue. If you have a problem with it and take it offensively than use your ability to ignore it. Or, perhaps, I meant Sciborg links a lot and perhaps you should see the other side where some people get humor out of it. You say, "The problem with that approach is that the meaning you thought you were expressing is not the same as the one which the reader receives." applies to everything one might ever say about anything one reads. Then I might never say, "Wow, these mashed potatoes are something special." out of fear of offending somebody because their inability to read how I wanted it read. Maybe you think you're special and mashed potatoes don't deserve to be mentioned. How offensive, right? Give me a break, Typoz.

Now, I don't like Penn Jilette at all. Not even a little. But man, oh man, you remind me of this video..

 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#13
But I had time to read a bit and I was curious, Sci. To what extent do you think psychedelics played a role in our imaginative abilities?
I don't know. It's a rather bold thesis - I know Hancock, Alex Grey, and others believe psychedelics opened the gateway to the Numinous and this allowed us to develop art & language.

I'd have to read up more on the possibility. I do suspect a combination of drugs and meditative practices were involved in the Eleusian Mysteries, but unlike many I suspect the drugs were given early on, rather than offering the culminating revelation of the cults.
 
#14
I'd have to read up more on the possibility. I do suspect a combination of drugs and meditative practices were involved in the Eleusian Mysteries, but unlike many I suspect the drugs were given early on, rather than offering the culminating revelation of the cults.
I'm still very slowly re-treading my path through the book I mentioned previously (Guirdham). But another ingredient may be sexuality and the possibilities enabled by guided or directed sexual activity.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#15
I should also note that there was at least one anthropologist who did think psychedelics played a role in jump starting human development, but that there was were no supernatural effects involved.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#16
DMT, the Prophetic Experience, and the Hebrew Bible

The prophetic state is highly congruent phenomenologically with the DMT one. Those who experience prophecy also believe that what they perceive is as real or more real than the everyday world. In addition, prophecy is extremely interactive, one’s ego is well-maintained while relating to the contents of the newly revealed world. The goal of prophecy is an interactive relationship with God or God’s angels, rather than a unitive mystical one, totally identifying with a formless concept-free ego-less level of experience. I emphasize this polarity between the “mystical-unitive” and “interactive-relational” states throughout “DMT and the Soul of Prophecy.”

Using these and others tools I performed an exhaustive side-by-side comparison of the DMT and prophetic experiences. This occupies about half of the new book. While the phenomenological contents of both states is strikingly similar—their perceptual, cognitive, volitional, physical, and emotion characteristics—the information content tilts heavily in favor of the prophetic one. If one thinks about it, the information contained in the Hebrew Bible, the paradigmatic prophetic text, has influenced billions of people over thousands of years. Western civilization is essentially a civilization growing out of this text; for example, our economy, law, philosophy, theology, science, art, and ethics and morality. In the contemporary West, the psychedelic experience has primarily contributed to a particular aesthetic with, at least for now, much less impact relative to the prophetic state.
I then review medieval metaphysical mechanisms of prophecy and attempt to bridge them with the notion of endogenous DMT. The result is a new model of spiritual experience, what I call “theoneurology.” In it, I present a counterpoint to the popular “neurotheology.” Neurotheology is a bottom-up approach. The “spiritual experience” is what we call the brain’s response to any number of particular stimuli: prayer, meditation, fasting, or psychedelic drugs. The experience has adaptive value, making us healthier, smarter, and more socially viable. Theoneurology is a top-down model and suggests that God configured the brain in such a way as to be able to communicate with us information that we may or may not consider especially beneficial, at least over the short term. DMT may play a role in this communication process. This model suggests that God uses the brain to relate with us rather than that the brain creates the impression of such a relationship.
I conclude the book by suggesting certain implications of the theoneurological model. Related research is taking place: the use of psilocybin to occasion spiritual experience. In addition, there is a growing popularity of syncretic ayahuasca—a DMT-containing sacrament—that refer to Hebrew Biblical stores, figures, and teachings. Thus, one who wishes to resonate more deeply with the biblical text might enter into a state of mind near to that from which the text originally emerged—the prophetic state. To the extent that DMT and other psychedelics occasion altered states of consciousness with “prophecy-like” features, one could consider the judicious use of these agents in this context. In a complementary manner, those who use psychedelic drugs for spiritual purposes may wish to consider the Hebrew Bible an interpretive tool for understanding and applying the information contained in their drug sessions.
An interesting discovery during this project was the Hebrew Bible’s notion of “false prophecy” and “false prophets.” These are extraordinarily relevant—and equally as subtle—issues involved in dealing with the “truth” or “goodness” of any experience we consider spiritual. Discriminating between false and true prophecy is difficult and because of this I raise the issue throughout my book. Its importance is basic to any attempt to understand and utilize either the psychedelic or prophetic state.
 
#17
Just putting in that the belief that substances caused some development is a materialist viewpoint. It presupposes the linear-time perspective as being fundamental and that changes are brought about within said timeline primarily by physical means.
 
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