In recent years many stories of the heroic defense of Christians by Muslims, often against attacks by ISIS, Boko Haram and other Takfiri terrorists, have emerged from Syria, Iraq, Egypt, the Philippines, Canada, France and elsewhere. These actions are entirely in the spirit, though not always in the awareness, of the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad, as elucidated in The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World by Dr. John Andrew Morrow (see www.covenantsoftheprophet.com). Here are links to 43 of them:
Pray to Allah as if you saw Him—because even if you don’t see Him, He sees you.
This essay was written in response to the apparent use, by certain contemporary Sufis (false Sufis, that is) of the sophisticated concept of “mari’fa (gnosis) of the Nafs (the self)”— a doctrine that has always formed part of the tradition of tasawwuf—to justify vice and corruption. Unfortunately, when a true doctrine is presented in counterfeit guise or for a deceptive purpose, the doctrine in its original form often becomes suspect, and this can sometimes result in a heavier veiling of Reality than can be produced by any form of passive forgetfulness or active censorship. In attempting this exposition, however, I find myself in an ambiguous position. To begin with, most of the expressions of Sufi doctrine beyond the elementary level have been written by shaykhs, and I am not a shaykh, which means that these concepts do not carry the full authority of Sufi tradition, but remain nothing more than “informed opinion”. Furthermore, since I possess no true teaching authority in a Sufi context, even if these concepts were as perfectly expressed as possible in verbal terms, they would still not be backed up by the intrinsic power to realize them on a deeper-than-conceptual level, a power that only the arifun, the gnostics, can transmit. Nonetheless, sometimes even a rumor of the truth is better than complete forgetfulness of It. In any case, since this essay is not backed up by any true teaching mandate, but remains on the level of metaphysical speculation (a word derived from the Latin speculum, “mirror”), I invite my readers to offer any criticisms, admonitions or additions they feel might be appropriate and helpful.
In the Sufi science of spirituality, ma’rifa means “gnosis,” in the sense of the intimate knowledge of God; the Nafs, as the word is usually defined, is the lower soul, the more-or-less unconscious ego, or simply the self. The Nafs is usually seen as occupying one of three stages of development: the Nafs al-ammara b’l su or “self-commanding-to-evil” (the passions), the Nafs al-lawwama or “accusing self” (the unquiet conscience), and the Nafs al-mutma’inna or “self at peace” (the soul willingly submitted to Allah). In addition, many Sufis, including Shaykh Ahmed al-‘Alawi of the Shadhili-Darqawi lineage, assert that ma’rifa of the Nafs is greater than the ma’rifa of Allah, though the ma’rifa of Allah must come first. Why is this?
The answer is that the ma’rifa of the Nafs is higher because in the ma’rifa of Allah the knower is still the Nafs—primarily, the Nafs al-mutma’inna—while in the ma’rifa of the Nafs the Knower is Allah. The Nafs is you, and your knowledge of both yourself and Allah is always imperfect; His knowledge of you, on the other hand, is necessarily perfect and complete.
Shaykh al-‘Alawi has this to say in two of his hikam or “wisdoms” (quoted in A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century by Martin Lings) about the distinction between ma’rifa of Allah and ma’rifa of the Nafs:
The Gnostics (arifun) are ranged in hierarchy: the knower of his Lord and the knower of himself (his Nafs); the knower of himself (his Nafs) is stronger in Gnosis (ma’rifa) than the knower of his Lord.
The veiled are ranged in hierarchy: the veiled from his Lord and the veiled from himself (his Nafs). And the veiled from himself (his Nafs) is more heavily veiled than the veiled from his Lord.
In regard to this a contemporary Sufi comments:
In what sense is ma’rifa of the Nafs greater than ma’rifa of Allah? If you do not know your Nafs [in the sense of having insight into her tricks and manipulations], it will take you away from the knowledge of Allah, therefore knowledge of Allah is dependent on the knowledge of the Nafs, and in that sense lesser. This is also why Sidi A. [a modern Sufi murshid] says it is easier to get the ma’rifa than to keep it. Without the knowledge of the Nafs, you will lose the ma’rifa of Allah.
I entirely agree with this picture, which is the common doctrine of the ma’rifa of the Nafs held by most Sufis. The knower of his Lord must already have a degree of ma’rifa of the Nafs, even if he does not yet have full knowledge of himself, since no one who lacks insight into the deceptions and manipulations of the Nafs will be able to maintain the ma’rifa of Allah in any stable way. Yet if ma’rifa of the Nafs is a higher station than ma’rifa of Allah, then ma’rifa of Allah cannot be totally dependent upon ma’rifa of the Nafs; there must be a higher station of ma’rifa of the Nafs that could not exist without ma’rifa of Allah—the one alluded to, for example, by the doctrine that the Nafs becomes transformed at one point into the Ruh, the Soul or Spirit.
Martin Lings, in his commentary on these two hikam of Shaykh al-‘Alawi, takes the second one as merely “the negative corollary of the first”. In other words, he sees “the veiled from himself is more heavily veiled than the veiled from his Lord” as simply indicating that ma’rifa of the Nafs is harder to attain, more esoteric, and consequently more heavily veiled than is ma’rifa of Allah, given that the pious contemplation of Allah “as if you saw Him” that makes knowledge of one’s Lord possible is more common and less demanding than the annihilation of all identification with oneself that leads to the ultimate self-realization. In saying this, however, he in fact unthinkingly compares “the veiled from himself” not with “the veiled from his Lord” of the second hikma but with the unveiled from his Lord, “the knower of his Lord” of the first hikma. Therefore it seems right to say that “the veiled from himself” is more heavily veiled than “the veiled from his Lord” because one of his veils is that which veils him from Allah, and because after this is removed, further veils still remain before full self-realization is attained. The only alternative to this explanation requires us to posit two completely different types of ma’rifa that have no relationship to each other: one in which the removal of the veils covering the ma’rifa of Allah brings the arif (the gnostic) no closer to ma’rifa of the Nafs, and another in which an increase in ma’rifa of the Nafs brings him no closer to the knowledge of Allah. However, to claim that ma’rifa of Allah can exist without any self-knowledge whatsoever and have no effect on the development of it (this being implied if not directly stated in Martin Lings’ commentary, which is undoubtedly based on his master Frithjof Schuon’s tendency to overemphasize spiritual typology and the distinction between bhakti [devotion] and jñana [ma’rifa] in the spiritual life) is to accept the absurd proposition that one can know Allah and still retain all his or her egotism, while to imply that self-knowledge can increase, even to the rank of full ma’rifa of the Nafs, without any reference to Allah, and that the knowledge of Allah is therefore unnecessary for the attainment of the ultimate spiritual realization, is virtually Luciferian, since it posits the perfectibility of man without God. This particular error, based as it is on the blasphemous proposition that Allah might be “left behind” at one point, is a clear invitation to self-worship and an open door to the tendency toward antinomianism that has sometimes plagued the Sufi enterprise; it is arises from the foolish attempt to claim Subsistence in Allah (baqa’) without first going through Annihilation in Allah (fana’), an Annihilation which must necessarily also include the annihilation of all claims. An imposture such as this can only lead to the deification of the ego rather than the realization of the self. It is true that such pre-eminent sages as Sri Ramana Maharshi and Meister Eckhart spoke of the station at which God as an Object disappears because the subjective self that could contemplate that Object has also disappeared; Eckhart was undoubtedly speaking out of this maqam when he said “I pray God that he quit me of God”, while the famous ana l’Haqq (“I am the Truth”) of Mansur al-Hallaj was likely spoken in the voice of al-Haqq Itself at a moment when no trace of Mansur Hallaj remained (and Allah knows best). In any case, while it is possible to aspire to Annihilation—though not to achieve it through one’s own actions, since in order to annihilate yourself you have to be there—one cannot aspire to Subsistence without attempting to deify the limited, self-identified self that so aspires. This is why it is necessary to understand and accept that only Allah truly possesses ma’rifa of the Nafs, and consequently that this ma’rifa goes far beyond subjective self-understanding, being nothing less than the full objectification of the self at the station of “He sees you”.
Returning to the second hikma, since “the one veiled from his Lord” is contrasted with “the one veiled from himself” by being designated as less heavily veiled, “the one veiled from his Lord” must not be totally veiled from himself. He must have some degree of insight into his own strengths, weakness, motivations and tendencies, the beginnings of the level of ma’rifa of the Nafs described by the contemporary Sufi quoted above, without which any ma’rifa of Allah will be impossible to maintain. As for “the one veiled from himself,” since he is the most heavily veiled of all he must be veiled from Allah as well, which implies that, as we have already observed above, the removal of the veil concealing Allah is the first step toward the full unveiling of the Nafs. What we have here, then, are two different levels of ma’rifa of the Nafs: the preliminary but necessary insight into the deceptions and manipulations of the Nafs al-ammara, the factors that veil your ability “pray to Allah as if you saw Him,” and the ultimate ma’rifa of the Nafs which is higher even than the ma’rifa of Allah, the degree of ma’rifa indicated by “He sees you”. Your knowledge of yourself is always imperfect and conjectural, whereas Allah’s knowledge of you is you. To the degree that, by Allah’s generosity, you participate in His perfect knowledge of you, you may be said to possess the higher ma’rifa of the Nafs. Yet even the preliminary levels of such ma’rifa must reflect Allah’s knowledge of you, since every step you take towards objectivity with regard to yourself and your motives can only be taken by the power, and within the context, of the Absolute Objectivity of Allah. Without “He sees you,” there is no way you can see yourself.
So our awareness of the tricks and manipulations of the self-commanding-to-evil is certainly one degree of ma’rifa of the Nafs. But the Sufis also talk about the sacrifice of the Nafs, its annihilation in Allah, the transformation of the Nafs into the Ruh (Soul or Spirit) as a lump of coal is transformed, through pressure, into a diamond—and here is where a degree of the ma’rifa of the Nafs that is higher even than the ma’rifa of Allah comes into play: not higher because it is the necessary pre-requisite for the ma’rifa of Allah, but because it represents a more complete realization than the ma’rifa of Allah. In this higher rank of knowledge of the Nafs, the Knower is no longer me—i.e., another aspect of the same Nafs—but Allah Himself. I can aspire to Knowledge of Allah (even though all my knowledge of Him is only by His grace and mercy), but I can’t aspire to be known by Allah; He knows what He knows, and I can neither increase His knowledge nor limit it by anything I do. Nonetheless, the deeper my knowledge of Allah becomes, the more deeply I can participate in His knowledge of me.
The shift from me-knowing-Allah (imperfectly) to Allah-knowing-me (perfectly) comes only by fana’, by “dying before you are made to die”, by allowing your identification with yourself to be broken by Allah’s power. Obviously you yourself can never really intend to break your identification with yourself and then carry out that intent; only Allah can do this. This is why the only door to ma’rifa of the Nafs is ma’rifa of Allah. In the words of the hadith qudsi: “Who seeks Me, finds Me; who finds Me, knows Me; who knows Me, loves Me; who loves Me, I love him; whomever I love, I kill; whomever I kill, I Myself am his blood price.”
As we have already alluded to, the teaching of mari’fa of Allah and ma’rifa of the Nafs is summarized in the hadith where Jibra’il appears to Muhammad and his companions in the form of a young man and tests the Prophet on his knowledge of the religion. When he asks Muhammad what ihsan is—spiritual excellence, beauty or perfection—the Prophet answers: “Ihsan is to pray to Allah as if you saw Him, because even if you don’t see Him, He sees you.” “Pray to Allah as if you saw Him” is ma’rifa of Allah, which is necessarily imperfect because you still take your limited subjective self to be the knower. “Because even if you don’t see Him” is fana’, the annihilation of all sense of selfhood in Allah, because where there is no consciousness of servanthood neither is there any consciousness of Lordship. Lastly, “He sees you” is baqa’, subsistence-in-Allah, complete freedom from self-identification, the station at which you are entirely content to be not who you think we are but only who Allah knows you to be. This is the higher rank of ma’rifa of the Nafs—that ma’rifa in which the only Knower is Allah, and in which, though the form conventionally designated by my name still subsists, that form is no longer “me”. In the words of Ibn al-‘Arabi:
The recipient sees nothing other than his own form in the mirror of the Reality. He does not see the Reality Itself, which is not possible, although he knows that he may see only his [true] form in it….If you have experienced this you have experienced as much as is possible for created being, so do not seek to weary yourself in any attempts to proceed higher than this, for there is nothing higher….He is your mirror and you are His mirror in which He sees His Names and their determinations, which are nothing other than Himself. [from the Futuhat al-Makiyya]
The central point here is that there is only one Mirror. Your witnessing of yourself within Allah is the same thing as His witnessing of Himself within you—and this being-witnessed-by-Allah is a knowledge that, if He so wills, you can directly participate in. This, in my estimation, is the highest station, the finished form, of ma’rifa of the Nafs (and Allah knows best).
The coronavirus, whether or not the extreme global response to it ends by being more destructive than the virus itself, imposes a major contraction. But what is it that contracts? The great Sufi Abu Yazid al-Bistami said: “When the Heart contracts, the nafs (the ego) expands; when the nafs contracts the Heart expands.” If the Heart contracts we will seek forgetfulness in numbness or dissipation, so the idea is to use the virus and the virus-panic to help contract the ego instead, the nafs; from the Sufi point-of-view, this is why Allah has sent it. The thing in us that is always grasping, fleeing and making demands, the thing that tries to hide from fear either by sinking into oblivion or else by asserting itself and starting conflicts, THIS is the nafs. This is what must contract. If, in submission to Allah’s will, we form a clear intent to USE the coronavirus to contract this nafs, then the Heart will expand of its own accord—and along with this expansion will arrive a powerful sense of Allah’s Presence and Mercy; this is what some Sufis have called “expansion in the fist of contraction.” If “there is no might nor power except in Allah,” then we avail ourselves of this power not by seizing it or imitating it but by submitting to it. If we can do this with courage, clarity and sincerity, a great power will develop out of that submission, the power to follow Allah’s lead and rise to His commands, in the full knowledge that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him [Q. 9:118]. This is the unparalleled opportunity that is being presented to us by the coronavirus; let’s not waste it.
But exactly how is this done? We’re all getting squeezed now, and when you get squeezed it seems like everything contracts, both Heart and nafs, both empathy and selfishness. You have fewer ways to indulge your passions, even your “innocent” ones, but you also tend to become more irritable, obsessive, paranoid and depressed. How do you separate your Heart from your ego so that the ego can contract and the Heart expand? And is it really you who makes this separation? Do you really have enough power, enough knowledge, to do it?
Virus-time is the ideal time to realize that, in the last analysis, only Allah is the Doer. This is not meant to deny free will and personal responsibility, just to remind us that the primary and ultimate Power in the universe is no-one and nothing but Allah. If we see the painful events as coming from blind unconscious material forces, then we will become depressed, hopeless and fatalistic: “there’s nothing you can do, life is random and meaningless.” If we see such events as coming from other people, then we will become angry and combative. “Trump sent the coronavirus—no, the Chinese sent it—no, the Democrats failed to prepare us for it—no, the Republicans blocked the bail-out” etc. etc. etc. Obviously this kind of mind-set will not help us contract the nafs and expand the Heart. Only if we see hard events, like ALL events, as coming from Allah Alone will we be able to accept them and see the lessons hidden within them.
This, of course, brings us to what is called theodicy, the perennial question of “If Allah is both all-good and all-powerful, how could He, or why would He, create a universe filled with inevitable suffering?” At this point I don’t intend to go into all the very wise and clear answers to this question provided by saints and sages throughout the centuries; all I want to do is point out that if the idea that Allah sent the coronavirus shakes your faith in Him, this could only be because you had forgotten that every human being must die, usually in pain, coronavirus or no. In the memorable words from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—if you’ll permit me a moment of black humor—“If God really loved us, how come he made us out of meat?” No plague or war or other collective disaster can change the basic terms of human existence.
So Allah sends contraction. How do we respond to it? Our first response, I believe, must be islam, submission. But what, exactly, is submission? Is it only hopeless resignation to the inevitable? It must be more than that; even atheists are capable of hopeless resignation. Ultimately, submission is the recognition that only Allah is the Doer, that He is the ultimate Principle behind both outer events and our own response to outer events. In the words of the Qur’an, We will show them Our signs on the horizons and in themselves, till it is clear to them that it is the truth. Suffice it not as to thy Lord, that He is witness over everything? [41:53].
But how this is “submission” to be done? Is there a method to it? Is it something that we do, or something that just happens to us? According to the Qur’an, You cannot will unless Allah wills [Q. 76:30]; Allah created you, and you can do nothing [37:96]. But we still have to say “yes” to the Will of Allah—and I believe that the only real way to say “yes” to that Will is to find the place in us where we’ve unconsciously been saying “no” to it all along—the place of self-will—and consciously intend to give up saying that “no”.
Contraction will inevitably bring up all the vices, passions and obsessions that have been hiding in our soul, all our self-will and concupiscence (which is self-will’s passive partner), all our rebellions against islam; in terms of the spiritual life, that’s what contraction is for. We sometimes say that Allah sends hard times as a chastisement, as if this were simply a form of Divine punishment or revenge. But the real meaning of the word “chastisement” is purification. The state of expansion, of spiritual and material ease and exuberance, hides our resistances to Allah; the state of contraction exposes them, reveals them so we can consciously release them. And the precise turning-point between the expansion of the nafs that reveals the resistances, and the expansion of the Heart that overcomes them, is submission.
But there is no way the resistances can be released without love. If we don’t love Allah, how can we accept His actions, even His most merciful ones? Without mahabbah, the Love of Allah, we will hate Him for His chastisements—and when times are easy, we will take His gifts for granted. To forget Him during good times is to despise Him; to react to hard times with hopeless resignation is in effect to hate Him, even if we refuse to let ourselves become aware of that hatred. We may claim to be the abject slaves of Allah who are willing to accept any punishment from Him, even the most apparently meaningless, without hatred, without protest—but the hatred we hide in our contracted Hearts will inevitably manifest itself in a hatred of others and a hatred of ourselves—the perennial occupational hazards of the failed ascetic. If our Heart contracts in hopelessness, our nafs will inevitably expand in hatred and slander and judgment against our brothers and sisters.
But if we intend to release to Allah our intent to resist Him, and to open our Hearts to whatever this resistance may have blocked, that intention can only happen in a context of love, and will consequently invoke the power of love, of Allah in His Names Al-Rahman the All-Merciful, Al-Rahim the All-Compassionate, Al-Latif the Benevolent, Al-Wadud the Loving-kind. And love expands the Heart. The true love of Allah, however, is not immediately used up in self-indulgent sentiment and emotion, but expands into intimacy—and whatever we are truly intimate with we will come to know extremely well, with a knowing that is beyond feeling, beyond thought, beyond science, beyond conjecture, a knowing that is characterized by yaqin, “certainty”. This is the kind of knowing that the Sufis call Ma’rifa, “gnosis”, the intimate Knowledge of Allah that grows directly out of love. All that was hidden behind our deep-seated resistance to Allah will be found to be part of that Knowledge; as our resistance to Him is released, step by step, in love, that Knowledge—step by step—will come in its own time.
This is how contraction can open the door to True Love. We always say that war, the most powerful of contractions, brings out both the best and the worst in people; this is another way of saying that contraction inevitably expands either the Heart or the nafs—and the one thing that can ensure that it will be the Heart not the nafs that expands is true submission, true islam. Islam is humility and abasement, the willingness to be as passive and submissive as the earth, which every foot of man or animal can walk upon, every plough or bulldozer cut into, every bomb blast, every vehicle traverse, without resistance or protest. But Islam, since it is submission to Power, can also become the vehicle of Power—a truth that is perfectly expressed in the following verses by the medieval Andalusian poet Ibn al-Qabturnuh:
I remembered Sulayma when the passion
of battle was as fierce
as the passion of my body when we parted.
I thought I saw, among the lances, the tall
perfection of her body,
and when they bent toward me I embraced them.
Sulayma is Allah in the inner world of spiritual states, the world of in themselves; the lances are Allah in the outer world of conditions, the world of on the horizons. Only love can unite al-Jamal, the Beauty of Allah, with al-Jalal, His Majesty—because in the Heart, by the power of radical submission, love and death are one.
The most direct and obvious form of submission is submission to the inevitability of death.
Fear of death is natural, but as the Gospel of John tells us, “perfect love casteth out fear.” In the presence of the Infinite, limitation burns; submission to the pain of that burning, in love, is the very ecstasy and the coolness of Paradise. When we are confronted with fear—the fear of death or any other fear—to move in the direction of paranoia and despondency is to give expansion to the nafs, while to recognize this fear as a veil concealing the awesome Majesty of Allah—and the Beauty of that Majesty—is to give expansion to the Heart. Only love can make this recognition. The Qur’an says, in the “Sura al-Inshira”, verses 1 and 5: Have We not expanded thy breast?….Surely with hardship goeth ease. It does not say “AFTER hardship COMETH ease” but WITH hardship GOETH ease. By this it is alluding to al-Jamal concealed in al-Jalal, to the Beauty hidden in the Majesty—a terrible Beauty that only the eye of the Heart can witness.
If anyone would like to share a written response to what I have written here, or his or her own meditation on the covid-19 crisis, or if he or she happens to know of another author or piece of writing that has addressed this situation and deserves a wider audience, please feel free to contact me though this website.
The Tantra of Physics: A Review and Metaphysical Exposition of The End of Quantum Reality, a Film by Rick DeLano on the Life and Work of Wolfgang Smith
~ Charles Upton
I know too well that a great majority of Englishmen are fond of The Indefinite which they Measure by Newton’s Doctrine of the Fluxions of an Atom—A Thing that does not Exist…. For a Line or Lineament is not formed by Chance, a Line is a Line in its Minutest Subdivision Strait or Crooked. It is Itself & Not Intermeasurable with or by any Thing Else… but since the French Revolution Englishmen are all Intermeasurable One by Another, Certainly a happy state of Agreement to which I for One do not Agree. God keep me from the Divinity of Yes & No too, The Yea Nay Creeping Jesus, from supposing Up & Down to be the same Thing, as all Experimentalists must suppose.
—William Blake, Public Address
When my wife and I drove from Lexington, Kentucky to the Cincinnati area to view the long-awaited film The End of Quantum Reality, the story of Traditionalist mathematician, physicist and metaphysician Dr. Wolfgang Smith and his monumental discoveries—notably his elegant solution to the notorious “quantum enigma”—we arrived in a small, run-down Ohio River town in a semi-industrial area. The theater where the film was being shown was attached to a local bar; the audience amounted to my wife, myself and three others. After the movie, which was both an epiphany and a delight, I had planned to corral the other three viewers so we could retire to the espresso café across the street and hold an impromptu Wolfgang Smith discussion group. But since two of our fellow viewers escaped before I could accost them, I ended up talking only with one man who had driven to Cincinnati from Dayton, Ohio, to see the film, just as we had driven from Lexington. He was especially interested in it because he had a daughter who was studying theology and mathematics and a son studying computer science. We decided against the discussion group; nonetheless the teenage boy who was selling the tickets apparently realized, judging from his knowing smile, that the small audience that showed up represented more than a collection of bored weekenders motivated by no more than idle curiosity, but rather the parties to a shared secret.
The End of Quantum Reality is a real achievement. Directed by Katheryne Thomas and produced, written and narrated by Rick DeLano, it manages to be a story of the life and discoveries of Wolfgang Smith without allowing biography to obscure its main subject: the revolution in physics just now beginning to appear (though well under way in its own world), which is destined to dethrone Einsteinian relativity and reinterpret quantum mechanics, largely through the correct understanding of “the collapse of the wave-function”, in a way that is entirely line with Traditional Metaphysics, including but not limited to Aristotelianism and Scholastic Philosophy. The graphics constitute a perfect sub-text to the narration, one that is always strictly illustrative and never intrusive, while the biographical elements, since they center on Wolfgang Smith’s intellectual development, faithfully serve the ideas without distracting our attention from them. Dr. Smith’s philosophic itinerary includes graduation from Cornell at the age of 18 with a triple major in physics, philosophy and mathematics; his teaching career at MIT and elsewhere; his travels to India to consult with Hindu and Tibetan sages; and his return to the Catholicism of his youth under the influence of his wife Thea, who actually passed away during the film’s production, and who therefore appears in The End of Quantum Reality as Wolfgang’s philosophical muse, his Sophia. DeLano manages her appearance with a moderate and sensitive touch, bringing her in just far enough to allow Thea and Wolfgang’s love to illuminate certain subtler aspects of his vision of corporeal reality—which he clearly distinguishes from the material reality investigated by modern physics—notably its incarnation of the Aristotelian/Thomistic principle of the marriage of forma and materia. In addition, Rick DeLano’s writing and narration strike the ideal note that makes the film ultimately convincing: not the strident tone of the rebellious zealot but the relaxed, generous and gently humorous quality of the established hierophant whose worldview is both satisfying and secure.
I learned two important things from The End of Quantum Reality: First, that the central significance of what has been called the Axis of Evil, the “quasi-equator” that has recently been discovered in the microwave background radiation, is that there is any kind of discernable axis in this radiation at all, since the Big Bang was supposed to have expanded from an infinitesimal, dimensionless point that could in no way have harbored Form of any kind, and the Axis is most certainly Form. The fact that the Axis is also in the same plane as the Earth’s orbit (which, I thought, might have been fairly easily dismissed by the anti-creationists as “mere chance”) was just frosting on the cake. The first manifestation of the BB should have been “pure chaos”, a chaos that, by some sort of “evolutionary” process, somehow later organized itself, apparently using the same method that a pile of automobile parts uses to automatically organize itself into an automobile. To posit pre-existing Form as the origin of the universe is as bad for the interests of contemporary materialism as positing it as the origin of DNA, which The End of Quantum Reality also touches upon through the “complex specified information” theory of intelligent design proponent William Dembski. More even than the notion of the “multiverse,” which The End of Quantum Reality debunks, the Axis of Evil has helped to deconstruct the irrational belief in a “self-organizing system” or a “self-creating cosmos,” in forma spontaneously arising from random potentia instead of intervening from without and above to fertilize and organize this potentia, a Divine act that is expressed in the book of Genesis [1:2] as “Then the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (In an attempt to express the notion of self-organization as a universal principle, cyberneticist Gregory Bateson coined the law that “the flow of energy through a system tends to organize that system.” I wish I had had the chance to ask him, “do you mean, for example, the way a lightning-bolt organizes a human body when it strikes it?” Perhaps Bateson was seeing something valid here, through a glass and darkly, but his so-called principle can only be considered true if by “energy” he meant what Dembski calls “complex specified information” and Wolfgang Smith, “vertical causality.”)
The existence of a discernible Axis in the echoes of the “earliest” phase of the universe we can presently detect suggests the Divine primordial creative polarity which is the source of all manifestation, like the polarity of Brahma and Saraswati in Hinduism, and which is reflected in the majority of creation-myths the world over as the polarity of Sky and Earth. As in electrostatics, the “potential difference” between these two primal poles generates a shakti, a Current—the Current of creation-and-reintegration that the Hindus represent by the syllable AUM, that the Muslims call the Nafas al-Rahman, “the Breath of the Merciful,” and that the Christians name the Logos, the Word. How, one might ask (if, that is, one sees no fundamental contradiction between sober objective science and mythopoetic romance), could the universe have been created without the primal love-affair between forma and materia, between the Witness and the Witnessed? The notion of a self-creating and self-organizing universe is profoundly un-romantic, which is why it can be seen as the primary quasi-metaphysical paradigm underlying radical feminism, one of whose more extreme imaginings is that women should try to develop the ability to reproduce without men. William Blake, in The Four Zoas and Jerusalem, named this tendency “the Female Will,” which he saw as a fundamental denial of his principle that “every material effect has a spiritual cause.”
The second thing I learned is that my generally negative view of quantum mechanics, of chaos and indeterminacy as somehow creative and form-giving—this being by far the most common picture of that world—had to do with a view of the sub-atomic world of potentia that ignores the true significance of the phenomenon known as “the collapse of the wave-function” thereby also ignoring the fact and necessity of vertical causality that wave-function collapse demonstrates. The collapse of the wave-function, for those unfamiliar with this term, is the transformation of a sub-atomic reality from a wave of probabilities as to the possible position and state of a particle into an actual particle with a single location and a single state, something that Wolfgang Smith sees as illustrating the Thomistic principle of the passage from Potency to Act. The original quantum theorists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr, in their famous “Copenhagen Interpretation,” speculated that the act of human observation alone has the quasi-magical power to collapse the wave-function. Not all theories of quantum mechanics recognize the phenomenon of the collapse of the wave-function, however, nor do all those that recognize it accept human observation as the causative factor. Be that as it may, without wave-function collapse, quantum reality remains merely virtual, without true existence, which is why it can only be described according to probability, not causality; consequently I had seen quantum mechanics as one of the pillars of postmodern nihilism, including such trends as what I’ve called “social Heisenbergianism”. As I said in my book Dugin against Dugin: A Traditionalist Critique of the Fourth Political Theory:
When Modernist individualism, operating within a “rational” order of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, becomes, in its senility, a postmodernist “atomic individualism” operating in no context whatsoever but the laws of probability—a “social Heisenbergianism” of random indeterminacy that presumes to grant to every “voice,” every concept or fantasy or mere image of the mind, and every impulse of the passions including the most self-contradictory and suicidal, equal weight and an equal right to speak—these, not human persons, now being in effect the new “individuals”—then God is denied quasi-absolutely, and society, history, the earth and the human race are on the road to annihilation.
Dr. Smith made it clear to me in a recent phone conversation that what he feels he has achieved, in solid mathematical terms, is fundamentally the validation of the corporeal realm, the realm reported by our senses, the world in which we actually live, unmediated by scientific instruments or experiments, which he sees as a fundamentally higher level of being than the material realm investigated by modern physics; he identifies the corporeal with the “substantial form” of the Scholastics, the union of forma and materia that produces real existing entities. Consequently he does not accept the postulate of early quantum theorists that human observation is the agency that collapses the wave function; rather, he sees this event as produced by contact between the corporeal realm—in this case the instruments that the physicists use to investigate the quantum realm of potentia—and the potential/material realm itself. He calls this a “minimalist” approach that deliberately avoids broad metaphysical speculations and limits itself to what can actually be demonstrated and proved, experimentally and mathematically—which is why, in my view, it provides a solid and fertile ground for such speculation. He told me, in effect: “Speculate all you want to, but don’t attribute your speculations to me. They may have been inspired by my discoveries but they are not part of them.”
If we look at the matter in terms of three of Aristotle’s Four Causes, it may be permissible to say that the principle of quantum indeterminacy erroneously posits a material cause alone—which, when not completed by a formal cause and an efficient cause, does not rise to the definition of true causality; this is why its operations can only be described in terms of probability. The second error of the early theorists was to posit human observation as the efficient cause of wave-function collapse, as if “consciousness” alone (which, according to Dr. Smith, is a relatively meaningless term) could have an immediate, magical effect upon matter—a notion that spawned mass of quasi-metaphysical speculations that have resulted in generations of unprovable and essentially wrongheaded theories. In the place of human observation as the efficient cause of wave-function collapse, Dr. Smith has inserted corporeality as its formal cause, Since the substantial form of the corporeal realm is on a higher ontological level than the potentia of the quantum realm, contact with substantial form raises quantum indeterminacy from the level of probable existence to the level of real existence; in Scholastic terms, it effects the passage from Potency to Act. The effect of this reinstatement of the formal cause is to banish the phantom, called up by poorly-understood quantum physics, of an “illusory” world of sense perception that in “reality” is nothing but subatomic particles, quantum fields and empty space, and return us to a real world of Nature that we can actually observe by means of our five senses, a world in which the incarnate human being is naturally at home. The unprovable and wrongheaded theories that grew up to explain the strange phenomena of quantum physics had almost destroyed (with the help of personal computers and smartphones, I might add!) our belief in the corporeality of the cosmos we see all around us, not to mention our awareness of our own corporeality—and if we do not accept the reality of creation, how then can we believe in a Creator? Simply put, Wolfgang Smith’s discoveries have given us back both Nature and the human body. Human race—welcome home.
This is the essence of Wolfgang’s achievement. However, given the solid corner-stone he has provided, I feel no scruples against continuing to speculate, based on that achievement, in a more expansive metaphysical direction. Just as orthodox dogma, or the clear literal meaning of scripture, give us a stable foundation for metaphysical realization, so scientific and mathematical certainties as to the nature of the world, purified of pseudo-metaphysical fantasies, can give us a real basis for sound metaphysical speculation and insight.
I will begin my course of speculation with another apparently incontrovertible fact—that, even though Nature (or God if you will) can certainly collapse the wave-function without human intervention, one of the avenues to wave-function collapse is, precisely, human action. If, according to Wolfgang Smith, it is contact with humanly-designed corporeal instruments that collapses the wave function, rather than the direct quasi-magical effect of human observation or consciousness, nonetheless the efficient cause of this contact, the thing that brings those corporeal instruments together with that material sub-stratum, is nothing other than human intelligence and intent. So human observation, in this sense, is one of the causes of wave function collapse; it does not operate directly upon matter in the absence of a formal cause, however, but rather acts through the medium of the formal cause, as represented by humanly-conceived instruments and experiments. No traditional cosmological doctrine claims that man rather than God creates the universe, only that man has the God-given ability to discern and reproduce God’s own mode of creation on a more limited and derivative level, thus making him, not a co-creator, but certainly a sub-creator. And since there is little doubt that humanity possesses the ability to collapse the wave-function, not quasi-magically through direct observation, but rather methodically, through human intent, intelligence, and work, this ability can be seen as validating the traditional view of the nature of Man. We are so familiar with these unique powers that their uniqueness often escapes us, not to mention the fact that we are sometimes actually ashamed of them due to our radical misuse of them. Nonetheless, in traditional terms, they represent nothing less than the action of God within us. As soon as we see the collapse of the wave-function, produced by the human act of rationally interrogating the material world by bringing it into contact with corporeal instruments, as an extension of the form-giving vertical causality by which God creates that world, a prolongation of the fiat lux in terms of the human intent to investigate and understand that creation, then humanity regains its full and proper stature as “the microcosm of the macrocosm”, based on our assumption of the function that the Qur’an calls the Amana, the “Trust” [Q. 33:72]. We must recognize, in other words, the formative power that human investigation, via corporeal instruments, has upon quantum indeterminacy as nothing less than the Logos extending its power and action through its chosen representative for terrestrial existence: the Human Form. We might characterize the power of human investigation to confer substantial form on quantum indeterminacy as one of several metaphysical validations of the Anthropic Principle. The recognition of this power refutes the Copernican denial that any place or station in the cosmos (least of all, apparently, the human one) could occupy a privileged position. So once we accept Wolfgang Smith’s explanation of wave-function collapse in terms of vertical causality operating through the contact of corporeal instruments with material potentia, and remember the simple and undeniable fact (which our fully justified reaction against the theoretical extravagances of the Copenhagen Interpretation might have caused us to forget) that this meeting between the corporeal and material has taken place expressly through deliberate human action and design, we are now empowered to challenge the proponents of an exclusively materialist science in the following terms:
“You often claim that religion had falsely inflated humanity by making us the center of the universe, but that modern science has now humbled human arrogance by proving us to be little more than microbes crawling on a speck of cosmic dust lost in the vastness of the cosmos. Why, then, does religion alone preach humility before God and His creation, while materialistic science promotes a titanic arrogance which claims that humanity has the right to alter nature and the human form at will, and even to create weapons capable of annihilating all life? It doesn’t make sense. You claim that a human being is simply another cosmic entity like an animal or a tree or a mountain or a galaxy, with nothing unique or special about him that would place him on a higher ontological level than the rest of creation. But if you accept the postulate that human observations via humanly-designed corporeal instruments have the power—though certainly not exclusive power—to collapse the wave-function and effect a measurable change in objective reality, then why is the human being the only entity in the cosmos who can do this? Can a star deliberately design instruments and experiments that lead to the collapse of the wave function? A whale? A crystal? A tree? What does it mean that only humanity can perform this operation? Whatever your answer may be, the fact remains that this power is entirely in line with the traditional view of humanity as the “axial” being for terrestrial existence, the microcosm of the macrocosm, a view that has been held by Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Shamanism, the cosmology of William Blake, the Jewish Kabbalah, and innumerable other traditions for thousands of years, traditions that produced civilizations with countless millions of adherents. Is this confluence a mere coincidence? And if the traditional “anthropic” doctrine that (in the words of St. Gregory the Great) ‘man is, in a manner, all creatures’—which is why Genesis 2:19 can say ‘whatsoever Adam called any living creature, that was the name thereof’—has indeed been superseded by the materialist worldview, then how do you explain the unique human ability to collapse the wave-function by purposely and deliberately constructing experiments to investigate the quantum world? According to the Qur’an [2:31-33], God told Adam the real names of all the angels, names they themselves did not know, then commanded him to inform the angels of their own names. If we take Adam to stand for humanity, the angels to symbolize the eternal archetypes of cosmic manifestation, and the act of naming to represent the power to unveil clear signs of these archetypes by calling real entities into corporeal manifestation out of the world of indeterminate material potentia through uniting forma with materia, then the human ability to induce wave function collapse by bringing the corporeal and material worlds together squarely validates the traditional doctrine of Man as the axis of creation, host to the Imago Dei, holder of the Trust.
As Dante taught, man makes art—a name that can be legitimately applied to the totality of human creativity—by utilizing the same norms and processes that God established when He created the universe. So the human act of asking the right question—perhaps because it is the exact inverse of the self-will by which Lucifer fell from heaven—has profound and unexpected depths; it is, in fact, the essence of islam, of submission to God’s Will, which is why it holds the power to invoke God’s Will. What else could explain the instantaneous effects of “quantum entanglement” consequent upon the collapse of the wave-function as produced by intentional human action? (Quantum entanglement, for those unfamiliar with it, is the observed phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of particles is generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the pair or group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance. Some instances of quantum entanglement can be explained by the emergence of two or more particles from a common source, yet entanglement also apparently occurs with no causative factor other than the human action of experimentally bringing the corporeal and the material realms into contact with each other for the purpose of observation—which, incidentally, makes the intent to make observations for the purpose of gaining knowledge the fourth of Aristotle’s Four Causes, the final cause of both humanly-induced wave function collapse and humanly-induced quantum entanglement.) Luciferian self-will says: “I want Truth to be whatever I say it is”; this is how the collapse of the wave-function is sometimes interpreted by those with no concept of vertical causality, of the intersection of Eternity with time. On the other hand, the piety of both true science and true spirituality says: “I will submit to the Truth whatever it may be, even if it destroys my most cherished notions—only let It appear!” Self-will banishes Truth, but submission invokes It—and Truth, in the last analysis, is God Himself. In Islam, one of the Ninety-Nine Names of God is Al-Haqq, “the Truth”; likewise, Christ called Himself “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The act of asking the right question holds an unmistakable ontological superiority over mere material potentia, just as Necessary Being (another name of God) holds superiority over Possible Being; it partakes of what, in Islam, is called yaqin, “certainty”. Think of what asking a true question embraces: the certainty that true questions can be asked; the certainty that the world must yield true answers to true questions; and the certainty that the one who asks the questions will be able to understand the answers. A true question seeks “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”—St. Paul’s definition of faith. By embracing both the questioner and the thing questioned it transcends the Cartesian bifurcation of subject and object, a transcendence that is well expressed by the Quranic verse I will show them My signs on the horizons [the outer world] and in their own souls until they are satisfied that this is the Truth. Is it not enough for you, that I am Witness over all things? [Q. 41:53].
I am willing to credit Wolfgang Smith’s conclusion that quantum mechanics, as long as the real cause and significance of the collapse of the wave-function is grasped, largely demolishes Einstein’s theory of relativity, which has certainly been one of the major pillars of the destructive social relativism of the postmodern ethos. Nonetheless, I continue to appreciate Einstein’s dismay at the more common, incomplete picture of quantum mechanics as something that replaces causality, whether horizontal or vertical, with mere probability (and Einstein had no clear idea of vertical causality), a picture which has led many physicists to interpret the collapse of the wave function and other quantum paradoxes in an illogical and nihilistic, if not Promethean, manner—as the human right and ability to determine what is true (since nothing is true in itself), thereby leading to their acceptance the Serpent’s false promise in Genesis 3:5, “ye shall be as gods.” When Einstein said “God does not play dice with the universe,” he was speaking out of a sound instinct to place forma above materia, Act above Potency, though he had absolutely no idea of how to actually do this, in concrete terms, in the face of quantum mechanics and its undeniable predictive power.
The Russian “Traditionalist” philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, following Heidegger, has announced in several of his books—notably The Fourth Political Theory—the demise of Logos (and Christianity along with it) and its replacement as a universal paradigm by Chaos, which he associates with quantum theory as it is most commonly understood. Dugin claims, in line with the nihilistic interpretation of quantum indeterminacy, that Logos (or Form) emerges from Chaos, that it is no more than one of the possible states that Chaos embraces, thereby revealing his notion of Chaos to be of the same order of ideas as the belief in a “multiverse”, which explains the order we see all around us, and within us, as based on the notion that we just happen to live in an ordered universe because, out of an infinity of random universes, one of at least them has to be a universe of order. What Wolfgang Smith has done, however, is to define the precise point where—after the seeming triumph of Chaos, Potentia, Substance, the Reign of Quantity over Logos, Form, Act, Essence, the Reign of Quality—Logos/Essence/Quality necessarily re-asserts itself and retakes the throne, through the actualizing effect of the of the corporeal world of substantial form when brought into contact with the potentia of the material world. It was one of the most profound achievements of the French metaphysician René Guénon to analyze the Hindu manvantara, the cycle-of-manifestation, in Aristotelian/Thomistic terms, as the descent from the Pole of Essence (forma) to the Pole of Substance (materia). According to him, the terminal phase of the cycle will be characterized by a triumph of material quantity—whose ultimate phase is Chaos—over metaphysical quality, of Substance over Essence. Thus the Heisenbergian shift in physics from the notion of mechanistic determinism to that of indeterminacy and probability is perfectly in line with Guénon’s picture of the triumph of the Substantial Pole over the Essential Pole—which must, according to him, lead to the apocalyptic dissolution of our present world. What Wolfgang Smith has done, however, is to discern the exact point where, at least in theoretical terms, the center of this apocalypse has already been passed, the point where—via the discovery of the collapse of the wave function—form-giving Essence has re-asserted its primacy, though certainly not its sole validity, over form-receiving Substance. Speaking in scriptural terms [Apoc. 21:1-2], this is nothing less than the vertical descent of the Heavenly Jerusalem, “adorned like a bride for her husband”—celestial Form—that brings with it “a new heaven and a new earth,” a new conceptual universe which must result, if not in this world then in the next, in a new form of human terrestrial existence: the Golden Age of the next manvantara.
In most mythic symbol-systems, Form is seen as masculine and Matter as feminine, a fact that is clearly illustrated by the etymological relationship between the English “matter” and the Latin mater, “mother”. Yet the opposite attribution is also possible. In The Divine Comedy the figure of Dante represents a relatively unformed materia seeking celestial Form, a Form that is symbolized and incarnated by Dante’s own Sophia, Beatrice; this mythos represents the ultimate development of the Courtly Love tradition. It is even speculated that Dante’s initiatory spiritual order, the Fedeli d’Amore or “Faithful to Love”, practiced a form of esoteric Aristotelianism whose goal was the conscious union of forma and materia, the attainment of substantial form, within the human microcosm itself. According to one phase of this yoga, the “Lady” was undoubtedly taken as a symbol of forma and the “Knight” of materia, though these roles might possibly have been reversed at later stages. In any case, the union of purified Matter with newly-unveiled Form is the perennial keynote of the Golden Age, whose distant yet ever-advancing shape Wolfgang Smith has almost certainly seen, and lived to tell of it. Nor is this picture of the creative event as the union of the Creative and Receptive principles, forma and materia, limited to Hinduism and Christianity. Besides being the basis of the cosmology of Taoism in the form of the Yang and Yin, most thoroughly explicated in the I Ching, it appears within Islam as the Pen (kalam) and the Guarded Tablet (lawh mahfuz), conceived of as God’s creative Word inscribing itself, as letters are inscribed on the waiting page, upon the receptive matrix of potential existence. Likewise when William Blake, his vision supercharged with the awesome celestial archetypes, put his stylus to the plate to engrave those Giant Forms upon the receptive materia of this world, he performed his own artistic version of the collapsing of the wave function, banishing the Indefinite that was represented for him by blurry painters like Rembrandt, and inscribing instead what he called “the hard and wiry line of rectitude” by which Form assumes strict precedence over Matter—in exactly the same way, and by exactly the same power, as Christ walked on the water.
This is how the revolution Wolfgang Smith has uncovered appears in mythopoetic terms—but what of the drier and more precise art of mathematics? If, as The End of Quantum Reality points out, Plato saw mathematics as the necessary prelude to a true understanding of metaphysics, how can we explain this? How can the supremely quantitative science of mathematics open us to a contemplation of metaphysical qualities? Dr. Smith, by his solution to “the quantum enigma,” demonstrates exactly how this can be done—and he is in very good company. Pythagoras, for one, also pointed the way when he analyzed musical tones and chords as the products of strict mathematical ratios, thereby opening (for all of us) the door that leads from Quantity to Quality. Plato did something similar in his representation of the Five Elements in terms of the regular polyhedra; what Pythagoras achieved for time, Plato accomplished for space. And in terms of the mathematics that underlies contemporary physics, universal constants play much the same role; The End of Quantum Reality suggests this by its reference to the planck constant. The speed of light, for example—c—can be seen in quantitative terms as a velocity of 186,282.6 miles per second in a vacuum (assuming we can still recognize such a thing as a vacuum!). From another, essentially Einsteinian standpoint, however, c is one of the mathematical incarnations of the quasi-metaphysical concepts of zero and infinity. If, according to Einstein’s myth, one were to actually attain the speed of light rather than simply observing it—which would require an infinite expenditure of energy—his or her velocity as experienced would reach infinity, which is another way of saying that, from his or her standpoint, the rate of the passage of time would reach zero, while the rate of the passage of time for the surrounding universe would, again, be infinite. Zero and infinity, however, are not material quantities: they are conceptual doors leading beyond matter, energy, space and time entirely, beyond Quantity to Quality, passageways from the physical order to the metaphysical order. Consequently light, for Einstein, becomes almost a metaphysical symbol of the Formless Absolute as well as a material quantity, something roughly comparable to a theophany of the Deity. Likewise, according to the Qur’an [24:35], Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. God, while He is essentially of the metaphysical order, is necessarily reflected, since He is infinite, in the corporeal and material orders as well.
Another passageway from Quantity to Quantity can be seen in the qualitative mathematics of the rational integers. Various whole numbers such as 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 12 have particular inherent qualities, beyond their quantitative use for counting 3 sheep, 4 cows, 7 ravens, 9 doves, 10 oxen or 12 eagles. 3 is stable spatially—a triangle can’t be easily deformed like a rectangle can—but dynamic temporally, as with the peak, trough and baseline of a sine-wave; these two qualities, taken together, suggest the eternal motionless dynamism of the Holy Trinity, another apt symbol of which is the circle considered in terms of its center (the Father), its diameter (the Son) and its radius (the Holy Spirit); this is the diagram that Rick DeLano brings forward in The End of Quantum Reality as a symbol for the Divine creativity. 4 appears as the four directions of space, as well as the 2 solstices plus the 2 equinoxes, which is why it represents the stability and regularity of terrestrial reality in many traditional symbol systems, including that of the I Ching. 7 is the 6 directions of a 3-dimensional space radiating from a common center, thus making it a fit symbol of the receptive Matrix of the Divine creative Word. The number 11 is particularly unique; it can neither be constructed on a 2-dimensional surface using a straightedge and compass, nor can it be represented in terms of a regular polyhedron; thus, it stands as a symbol of pure transcendence, what Islam calls tanzih, God’s absolute incomparability. So, mathematics has many signposts and doorways leading from the realm of Quantity to the realm of Quality, though only those who have already realized that a world of Quality exists, a world known as the metaphysical order, can find them and follow them.
The End of Quantum Reality demonstrates how Wolfgang Smith, metaphysician and mathematician, has unveiled for the 21st century some of the most significant qualitative, metaphysical realities that mathematics foreshadows and implies. In so doing, as Rick DeLano points out, he has emerged as a major figure in the fundamental reversal of the materialistic paradigm that has been dominant in the West ever since the Enlightenment. The End of Quantum Reality is intellectually enlightening, emotionally moving and spiritually inspiring; it demonstrates in the clearest terms why many people of the Millennial generation and younger (they call themselves the “Wolfgangsters”) have flocked to Dr. Smith’s banner. This is not a cult of personality so much as the expression of a fundamental dissatisfaction with a scientistic establishment based on nihilistic materialism. The End of Quantum Reality most certainly deserves the largest audience it can muster.
We are all aware of the growing number of attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues around the world, including North America. Whatever attacks are not carried out by (supposedly) lone individuals are usually attributed to, or claimed by, specific known groups: Islamicist terrorists, White Supremacists, etc. But a further question must be asked: are a percentage of these attacks actually false flags, carried out by entities with an agenda of creating conflict between the religions in order to weaken them, destroy the potential solidarity between them, and limit their social influence? To begin to ask this question more thoroughly I’ll need to give a little background.
I am associated with The Covenants Initiative, an international Muslim/Interfaith peace movement. Our movement is based on the rediscovery, by Dr. John Andrew Morrow, of the covenants or treaties concluded by the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, with Christians, Jews, and other faith communities of his time, as detailed in his groundbreaking work The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World (Angelico/Sophia Perennis, 2013). The Prophet’s numerous covenants with various Christian communities and monasteries command all Muslims not to kill or attack or rob or oppress or damage the buildings of peaceful Christians, but rather to actively defend them “until the coming of the Hour.” We knew we were having a global influence when the Pakistan Supreme Court, in their acquittal of the Christian woman Aasia Bibi on charges of blasphemy in November of 2018, extensively cited Dr. Morrow’s book as one reason for their decision.1
When the Covenants Initiative made its debut at the Christian/Muslim Dialogue hosted by the Bilal Mosque in Lexington, Kentucky in 2013, one of the members of the congregation, whose accent told us that he was from the Indian subcontinent, told a highly enlightening story: “On certain nights in my home town,” he said, “unknown parties would throw pig carcasses into mosques and slaughtered cows unto Hindu temples; this made it virtually certain that there would be Muslim/Hindu riots the next day.” It was obvious to him that the slaughtered animals had been placed in those houses of worship not by Hindus or Muslims, but by unidentified third parties.
Joachim Hagopian, in “Divide and Conquer: The Globalist Pathway to New World Order Tyranny” writes as follows of the application of the famous “divide and conquer” tactic to the creation of interreligious conflict:
The retention of power by utilizing a deliberate strategy of causing those in subordinate positions to engage in conflicts with each other that weaken and keep them from any unified effort to remove the status quo force from power…. This divide and conquer stratagem was frequently repeated by European colonial powers typically pitting competitive tribal, ethnic and religious factions against each other to ensure they would not conspire to revolt against the ruling imperialists. In Asia the British took full advantage of Moslems versus Hindus in India as well as creating conflict between Indians and Pakistanis.2
In view of the prevalence of this tactic, I propose the creation of a comprehensive dossier of instances of “divide and conquer” in the religious field (if such is found to be feasible), one designed to educate the global Interfaith Movement about this tactic and alert interfaith activists as to what to watch out for.
In our time we are seeing a sharp increase in attacks on mosques, synagogues and churches in the west, as well as concerted genocidal attacks on Christians, Muslims and other faith communities in different parts of the world. We also see the real beginnings of a “united front ecumenism” based not on seeking some abstract and idealistic unity of religions that could supposedly be created by homogenizing the teachings of different faith traditions and discarding “divisive” doctrines, but on mutual aid against real attacks. The American Muslim woman Faatimah Knight raises money to repair churches burned in the North American south3; the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign organizes U.S. churches to work against Islamophobia4; Muslims raise money to help the Pittsburgh synagogue whose congregation is massacred by anti-Semites;5 the same synagogue raises money for the mosques in New Zealand whose congregations are massacred by White Supremacists, etc., etc.6
It is the position of the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation that the covenants of Muhammad, which he tells us were inspired directly by Allah, command all Muslims to engage in precisely this kind of work. These efforts are hampered, however, by the general lack of any comprehensive view as to why such attacks are taking place. It is clear that broad-spectum anti-religious ideologies are growing in dominance. The history of such ideologies, which spring from Enlightenment Deism, Nietzsche, Darwinism, Marxism, Fascism, Freudianism, Behaviorism, Freemasonry, Theosophy, militant Atheism, Aleister Crowley-style Satanism, H.G. Wells-style Technocracy, Fabian Socialism, the Frankfort School etc. can fairly easily be traced, and it would be naïve of us to believe that elements such ideologies have not been incorporated into today’s bureaucratic, advertising and social-engineering paradigms. In addition, each religion possesses a large body of theory and historical evidence relating to the identity, motivation, ideology and agendas of its enemies. Little attention has been paid, however, to the possibility that some of these attacks are being orchestrated by their common enemies, or to the work of cataloguing the many ways in which anti-religious ideologies have come to form both public policy and various social engineering agendas. This is highly unfortunate, since one of the inherent weaknesses in such admirable mutual aid efforts between the religions as those mentioned above is the ease by which various agent provocateur actions by forces working to foment interreligious conflict can act to shift believers’ attention from away from mutual help and toward mutual suspicion. If, however, it were possible to prove that one or more concerted global efforts presently exist to weaken and destroy the religions by inciting conflict between them, if we had in our hands a convincing and well-researched dossier supporting this contention, then it would be much easier to prevent the work of mutual defense on the part of different religious communities from being compromised by agents provocateurs.
In compiling such a dossier we need to move beyond isolated anecdotal accounts, like the one above about the cows and the pigs—though these will always be useful—and begin compiling data relating to the possible existence of one or more social engineering campaigns operating simultaneously on many levels and in many nations. Therefore we should begin by asking: Does a body of research already exist exposing various efforts by non-religious forces to incite interreligious conflict, on a spectrum stretching from ideological subversion to physical attack? If so, where is it? Who has compiled it? Who can suggest avenues of research we could pursue to discover what has already been learned in this area? Rather than flatly asserting the existence of such an agenda, in the manner of the conspiracy theorists, simply because it seems to make sense, explains certain events and has well-known historical precedents, we need either to uncover solid evidence that such a plan or plans are actually in operation, or else find out that compiling such evidence is likely impossible. However, as I learned in the process of editing Lee Penn’s important book False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism and the Quest for a One-World Religion (Sophia Perennis, 2005), which deals with the sponsorship of the Interfaith Movement and its indoctrination with globalist ideologies by governments, foundations and international think tanks, we don’t have to cast such plans as “conspiracies” by this or that clandestine cabal or secret society, when there are plenty of government agencies, foundations and think-tanks, certain of their power and confident in the obliviousness of the general public, who are often quite open about their plans. These plans are often clearly laid out in published documents which, though not widely disseminated, are not strictly secret. And the great example the complacency and unguardedness of the powers that be with regard to their social engineering agendas is probably Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope. Likewise it is possible to read between the lines in documents related to the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Terrorism program to find a fairly obvious agenda of “re-integrating” ex-ISIS fighters into U.S. society, with the Federal Government openly sponsoring these international criminals—“operation paperclip” reborn.
Below is my own analysis of what I take to be some of the major strategies and goals of the global attack on religion, based on a pattern that emerges when many apparently separate incidents and bits of data are brought together. If this analysis could be more thoroughly substantiated by hard data, I believe that an accurate picture of this widespread and ongoing attack would emerge:
1) There appears to be an agenda in place on the part certain of non-religious forces, operating on a global scale, to control, and perhaps ultimately eliminate, virtually all the world’s religions, at least those that are in any sense traditional. Thus the visible interferences with religious doctrine and practice by specific governments, as well attacks by unknown terroristic or criminal elements, may therefore—at least in some cases—be subsets of a more comprehensive plan of action on the part of either clandestine governmental agencies or non-governmental power blocs controlling trillions of dollars in largely untraceable capital, forces with a long-term agenda of altering human society, psychology and biology on a global scale. Put it like this: If you were identified with interests who were attempting, often successfully, to exercise this level of political, economic and social influence, would you sit passively by and accept a situation in which the worldview, ethics and aspirations of billions of people were determined by religious authorities and institutions which you did not control?
2) There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that every world religion, plus many so-called esoteric organizations, have been infiltrated by “change agents”—not necessarily all working for the same entities, but for the most part working in roughly the same direction. At least according to anecdotal evidence, such infiltration of religious groups is apparently a common practice of many intelligence agencies.
3) One of the central strategies of these forces is to mount what I have called a “pincers movement” against the religions, especially the traditional religions. This pincers movement consists of two prongs—which, in some cases, can be proved to originate from exactly the same governmental, corporate and trans-governmental entities. These two are:
Prong one: Funding, training and arming extremist or terrorist factions within the religions for use as proxy armies in various conflicts, as well as sponsoring international mercenaries to masquerade as members of such factions, in order to pervert religious dogma, disseminate propaganda, and carry on genocidal and agent provacateur actions, not only in service to this or that military or geopolitical goal, but also—whenever possible—for the larger purpose of fomenting conflict between traditional religious communities, largely in Asia and Africa, for the purpose of weakening and ultimately destroying them. This would explain the practice of ISIS, who seems to be partly composed of international mercenaries simply masquerading as Muslims, of massacring not only Christians, but also Yezidis, Shi’a Muslims, Sunni Muslims and Sufis.7
Prong two: Funding, organizing and infiltrating the Interfaith Movement, mostly in Europe and North America, according to a paradigm of “repressive tolerance” where the religions are encouraged to weaken and undermine both themselves and each other by de-emphasizing all “divisive” doctrines, no matter how central such doctrines may be to their sacred traditions, as well as incorporating spiritually and socially subversive elements, of suspect origin, which have been identified by their purveyors with “tolerance,” “progress” and “religious unity.” The U.S. State Department, for one, has both supported anti-Christian, anti-Shi’a and anti-Sufi terrorism abroad, while at the very same time supporting the Interfaith Movement within the United States.
Taken together, these two vectors of attack are especially effective because they are mutually-reinforcing. Those appalled by interreligious violence between extremist religious factions will be easily convinced that the only way to moderate such violence would be to sacrifice all other considerations in favor of the creation of an ill-defined “unity of religions” by any means necessary. At the same time, those scandalized by the destruction of the age-old doctrines and practices of their faiths, sometimes actually in the name of such spurious unity, will be drawn into adopting an increasingly extremist stance in order to defend their sacred traditions from on-going liquidation by various secular, modern and postmodern ideologies and the forces attempting to impose them, thus narrowing down and radically editing their own teachings in a misguided attempt to eliminate supposedly extraneous elements and return their faith to its “original purity”. Thus the deconstruction of a particular religion through various reactionary attempts to “purify” it, and its deconstruction at the hands of liberal ideologies that see all dogmas, no matter how venerable, as “divisive,” work hand in hand. It is my belief that this principle is well-known, and skillfully employed on a global level, by those forces who would like to see all religion, at least all traditional religion, controlled, denatured, and ultimately destroyed. We should press forward our research into exactly who these forces are, what their ideology is, and who is funding them, with all deliberate speed. Once such research is collected and analyzed, the next step should be to organize a conference for the purpose of disseminating this research to Muslims, Jews, Christians and other religious communities, and using it as a basis for informing, expanding and consolidating the plans now being formulated on several fronts and the actions already being put into practice for the mutual defense of the traditional religions of the earth.
 Jayson Casper, “Covenantal Theology: Can Muhammad’s Ancient Promise Inspire Muslim-Christian Peace Today?” Christianity Today, December 21, 2018 (https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/december/asia-bibi-muhammad-covenant-christians-pakistan-court.html)
 Joachim Hagopian, “Divide and Conquer: The Globalist Pathway to New World Order Tyranny.” Global Research, October, 23, 2015 (https://www.globalresearch.ca/divide-and-conquer-the-globalist-pathway-to-new-world-order-tyranny-from-a-geopolitics-perspective/5483935 )
 Faatimah Knight, “Faatimah Knight Demonstrates Real Interfaith Cooperation in Parliament Keynote” (video). October 16, 2015 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbxrPjTyCao)
 Carol Kuruvilla, “This Christian Is Fed Up With Islamophobic Rhetoric—And she’s leading a national organization to do something about it.” Huffington Post, March 10, 2016 (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/islamophobia-catherine-orsborn-shoulder-to-shoulder_n_56df1424e4b03a40567a44be?guccounter=2 )
 Matthew Haag, “Muslim Groups Raise Thousands for Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Victims.” New York Times, October 29, 2018 (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/us/muslims-raise-money-pittsburgh-synagogue.html)
 Alex Horton, “Their fellow congregants died in Pittsburgh. Now Jews are supporting Muslims in New Zealand.” The Washington Post, March 18, 2018 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/03/18/their-congregants-died-pittsburgh-now-jews-are-supporting-muslims-new-zealand/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bd5d2b76e23e )
 The following two items support this last contention. First item: In August of 2012, a Defense Intelligence Agency document was obtained by the investigative group Judicial Watch, through a lawsuit pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, which makes it clear that the creation of a Salafist State in Syria along the lines of ISIS is exactly what the powers supporting the anti-Assad opposition wanted. Section 8, paragraph C of that document, probably the most relevant passage, reads: “If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).” The entire text is available at: http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf
Second item: In June of 2015 an article by Seumas Milne appeared in the Guardian, “Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled June the rise of ISIS In Syria and Iraq”; it can be found at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq?CMP=share_btn_fb
Furthermore, from my own personal experience, I can report that during the Obama administration, the Christian/Muslim Dialogue in my home town Lexington, Kentucky was hosting speakers from Homeland Security, the Federal Attorney’s Office, the State Department and the FBI, at the very same time that this administration, via the CIA and other entities, was subsidizing and directing the Arab Spring and the growth of ISIS.
Dear Prof. Dugin:
Because we hope you are genuine—or are at least working in that direction—we have to test you, right? We have to test you because so much of what you are attempting is so vital to our understanding of what the human race is up against, and of what our options might be—both spiritually and politically—now that we are facing nothing less than the end of a great World Age, we must be sure of you, as I’m sure that you wish us to be. And so:
1} In our brief exchange on Facebook you insisted that you have never supported ISIS. Yet in Eurasian Mission you say this:
Jihadis are universalists….We don’t like any universalists, but there are universalists who attack us today and win, and there are also non-conformist universalists who are fighting against the hegemony of the Western, liberal universalists, and therefore they are tactical friends for the time being….I don’t like Salafists. It would be much better to align with traditionalist Sufis, for example. But I prefer working with the Salafists against the common enemy [rather] than to waste energy in fighting against them while ignoring the greater threat….
QUESTION: If—no matter how distasteful you may find it—you were willing to work with Jihadi Salafists instead of fighting against them, how can you say that you have never supported Jihadi Salafist groups like ISIS?
2} If you say that you would rather work with the Sufis than the Jihadi Salafists, yet you are nonetheless willing to work with the Jihadi Salafists if necessary, then—in view of the fact that the Jihadis are the Sufis’ mortal enemies who have been massacring us for generations—aren’t you in effect threatening to throw your support behind the Jihadis unless the Sufis get in line?
3} In The Fourth Political Theory you say:
we should….move towards ontic roots but not ontological heights. Therefore, we should postpone such notions as the dimension of spirit and the divine, and move towards chaos and other vertical and depth-oriented concepts.
In the words of the Qur‘an, If there were in them (the heavens and the earth) other gods besides Allah, there would have been chaos. Glory be to Allah; the Lord with absolute authority. He is high above their claims [21:22]. If your Fourth Political Theory requires its exponents to postpone God in favor of Chaos, how can either faithful Muslims or faithful Christians follow it?
4} In The Fourth Political Theory, when describing the “fundamental conservative” position, you say
In their works, Guénon and Evola gave an exhaustive description of the most fundamental conservative position.
If we peel it away from the negative stereo-types and look at how, theoretically, those Muslims who lead the battle against the contemporary world would have to feel and think, we will see that they stand on the same typical principles of fundamental conservatives.
In other words, both the Traditionalist School and the Jihadi Salafists, who—in their own minds at least—lead the battle against the contemporary world, are fundamental conservatives. However, since the Traditionalists accept traditional civilizational Islam with its whole spectrum of sacred art and philosophy, as well as (in most cases at least, for those who are Muslims) the traditional madhhabs of the shari’ah, while the Salafi Jihadists reject these things—not to mention the fact that most of the Traditionalists, at least in Frithjof Schuon’s branch of the School, are Sufis (as was Guénon), while the Jihadi Salafists reject Sufism and believe that any Sufi can be legally killed—how can you justify saying that the Jihadi Salafis and the Traditionalists share the same fundamental conservative position? They are as different as night and day. And as evidence that by “those Muslims who lead the battle against the contemporary world” you mean the Salafi Jihadists, elsewhere in The Fourth Political Theory you claim that one recognized form for the rejection of globalism,
is….a Universal Caliphate which will bring the entire world under Islamic rule….Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda remains symbolic and archetypal of such ideas, and the attacks which brought down the towers of the World Trade Centre in New York on 9/11, and which are supposed to have “changed the world,” are proof of the importance of such networks.
5} In The Fourth Political Theory you say:
The Fourth Political Theory rejects …. all forms of the normative hierarchicalization of society based on ethnic, religious, social, technological, economic or cultural grounds. Societies can be compared, but we cannot state that one of them is objectively better than the others.
And yet in the same book you call Atlanticism “the absolute evil” and extol the virtues of Eurasianiam and the holy Russian narod. In doing this aren’t you declaring that Eurasianism is objectively better than Atlanticism?
6} In The Fourth Political Theory you say:
This subjectivity of time does not …. that any event is realisable a priori. The future is strictly determined, not something voluntary. Time, being historical, is predefined precisely by its historical content. The subject is not free from its structure, and more than this, it is absolutely enslaved by it.
Yet in the same book you say:
What is activity as mentality? It is the idea that thoughts are magic, that thoughts can change reality….
But if historical time is precisely predefined, if the subject is absolutely enslaved by it, then how can thoughts change reality?
7} In The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory you coin the motto “We are the supporters of the Absolute and we are against the relative”. Do you mean to imply that the Absolute itself is against the relative? But if so, then why is the relative still around? Why hasn’t the Absolute, which presumably has absolute power, been able to get rid of it yet? The Absolute is God, the relative is His creation. Are you for God but against His creation? And when you say “Societies can be compared, but we cannot state that one of them is objectively better than the others,” aren’t you siding with the relative against the absolute, at least the social absolute?
8} In “The Metaphysics of Chaos” from The Fourth Political Theory you define two different types of Chaos. You say:
We need to distinguish between two kinds of Chaos, the postmodernist ‘Chaos’ as an equivalent to confusion, a kind of post-order, and the Greek Chaos as pre-order, as something that exists before ordered reality has come into being. Only the latter can be considered as Chaos in the proper sense of the word.
Modern science [in its conception of chaos] is dealing with….logos in the ultimate state of dissolution and regression.
The process of the final dissipation and destruction of logos is taken here for “chaos”….In reality, though, it has nothing to do with chaos as such, with chaos in the original Greek sense of the term. It is rather a kind of utmost confusion. René Guénon has called the era we are living through now an era of confusion.
But then you suddenly invert the significance of Guénon’s term “confusion” by saying:
“Confusion” means the state of being that both runs parallel to order and precedes it.
Now you identify Guénon’s “confusion” with the “Greek” Chaos, the sort of Chaos that you and Heidegger claim has historically superseded Logos, which you further define by saying
The Greek chaos [is] pre-order….something that exists before ordered reality has come into being….Chaos is eternal, but eternally coexisting with time. Therefore, Chaos is always eternally new, fresh and spontaneous….
This is obviously not a description of the postmodern Chaos and confusion that rises from the decay and dissolution of Logos, but of the “Greek” chaos that precedes Logos—ordered reality—and is co-extensive with it.
But (as you say) the “confusion” of our era that Guénon not this eternal, pre-existing Chaos but precisely, the dissolutionary Chaos that you have defined as the decay-product of Logos. As Guénon says, in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times:
the Antichrist [the preparation for which he sees as the keynote of our era] must be as near as it is possible to be to “disintegration”….[to] confusion in “chaos” as against fusion in principial Unity….
So Guénon’s “confusion” is clearly not, as you claim, “the state of being that both runs parallel to order and precedes it,” but the opposite kind of Chaos—chaotic confusion that follows thethe death of Logos. THEREFORE, when you claim that Guénon uses the word “confusion,” which he says characterizes our era, to indicate this original and eternal Chaos, you precisely invert Guénon’s meaning, 180 degrees, thereby making him not the great Warner against Antichrist, but Antichrist’s herald and disciple.
Why have you done this?
9} If, as you maintain in The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory, the individual is a “heresy”—if, as you assert in the same book,
A person is the embodiment of the narod and the earth. In other words, the person by himself does not exist,
man is a conditionality, simply a conditionality,
then how can this heresy, this conditionality, this non-existent entity have the ability, as you also claim in The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory, to “expand the borders of his ‘I’ to limitlessness. For instance upward in order to say: ‘I am a soul.’ ”?
10} Once again you say, in “The Metaphysics of Chaos”, that
We need to distinguish between two kinds of Chaos, the postmodernist ‘Chaos’ as an equivalent to confusion, a kind of post-order , and the Greek Chaos as pre-order, as something that exists before ordered reality has come into being. Only the latter can be considered as Chaos in the proper sense of the word.
However, you also maintain in the same section of the same book that
The earliest Greek philosophy arose as something that already excluded Chaos.
I will admit that citing the Greek notion of Chaos while at the same time maintaining that the Greeks had no notion of Chaos is an admirably chaotic method….but it is still a contradiction. How do you explain it? Which of these two contrary statements do you really believe?
11} In The Fourth Political Theory you say:
It is the political system that gives us our shape. Moreover, the political system has an intellectual and conceptual power, as well as a transformative potential, without limitations.
But to say that politics, not God, creates man is a solemn vow and profession of atheism. It is an intellectual terror-attack on the essence of Christian anthropology, which, in the language of Eastern Orthodoxy, declares that man is created in the Image of God, not politics, and that, by virtue of the theosis to which Christ calls him, he is capable of conforming himself to that Image, thereby attaining and manifesting the Likeness of God. If politics has unlimited power to shape us, a power that both Christians and Muslims attribute only to God, then how can you be a sincere Eastern Orthodox Christian?
12} In The Fourth Political Theory you speak of “the realization of the technological aspect” of The Fourth Political Practice, yet in The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory you say:
The initiation of the conservative project in contemporary Russian society, of course, must not, by any means or any circumstances, flirt with technology….
Can you explain this apparent contradiction?
13} In The Fourth Political Theory you say:
What is the Fourth Political Practice? It is contemplation. What is the manifestation of the Fourth Practice? It is a principle to be revealed. In what aspect is the myth realised as ritual? It becomes theurgic fact (let us recognise that Neoplatonic theurgy is the reanimation of statues).
The Fourth Political Practice brings us to the nature of the supranatural world.…in the realisation of the technological aspect of the project. What is the supranatural world? It is a world where there is no barrier between idea and realisation. It is the principle of adopting a magical view of the world based on the idea that thought is the only thing that crosses worlds, and everything we cross with is nothing more than a thought.
QUESTION: What precisely is “the technological aspect” of the Fourth Political Practice? How does it relate to “the supranatural world”? What does it have to do with “the reanimation of statues”? What is the meaning of this kind of “reanimation” in terms of political praxis?
14} In The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory you say:
The Eurasian doctrine is in the first place a spiritual doctrine. In a sense it is a prophetic school….
What else do prophets do? They restore the connection between reason and consequences. “Come to your senses, Edom; come to your senses, Sire; you fell away from the worship of the true God, and therefore God punished you, destroyed your walls, your city. Where is the kingdom of Babylon that stood strong? The kingdom of Babylon is no more. Why? Because they rejected the one God.
In the Old Testament, Edom is the archetypal kingdom of evil, descended from Esau, just as Israel, the spiritual kingdom, descends from his brother Jacob. Furthermore, Edom is a kingdom not a king—so why do you address it as “Sire”? What does it mean for you to swear fealty to Edom? And if you say that we must postpone God in order to find our ontic roots, and that Christ the Logos has now been replaced by the principle of Chaos [see next question], have you not rejected the one God yourself?
15} In “The Metaphysics of Chaos” from The Fourth Political Theory you say:
Modern European philosophy began with the concept of Logos….over two thousand years, this concept became fully exhausted. All the potentialities and principles of this logocentric way of thinking have now been thoroughly explored, exposed and abandoned by the philosophers.
It is not correct to conceive of Chaos as something belonging to the past. Chaos is eternal, but eternally coexisting with time. Therefore, Chaos is always eternally new, fresh and spontaneous.
The epic vision of the rise and fall of Logos in the course of the development of western philosophy and history was first espoused by Martin Heidegger, who argued that in the context of European or Western culture, Logos is not of only the primary philosophical principle, but also the basis of the religious attitude forming the core of Christianity
The astronomical era that is coming to an end is the fish constellation of Pices, the fish on the shore, the dying one. [Christ, symbolized by Ichthys the Fish, is often thought of as the avatar of the Picean Age.] So we need water very badly now [obviously from Aquarius]…. Logos has expired and we will all be buried under its ruins unless we make an appeal to Chaos and its metaphysical principles, and use them as the basis of something new. Perhaps this is the “other beginning” Heidegger spoke of.
QUESTION: If, according to Heidegger whom you follow, Logos has now expired, and if Logos was the philosophical basis for Christianity, as well as being explicitly identified with Christ in the Gospel of John, then how can you be an Eastern Orthodox Christian? Do you worship a dead god?
Dear Professor Aleksandr Dugin:
I am writing to alert you to the publication of my book Dugin against Dugin: A Traditionalist Critique of the Fourth Political Theory [Reviviscimus, 2018, 539 pp]. In it I am pointedly critical of many of your published statements, though frankly appreciative of others. My criticism, however far outweighs my appreciation, and it can sometimes get pretty hot.
You have reached out to western intellectuals such as myself—especially those who love Tradition and understand the abysmal corruption of the modern world—apparently promising to give us at least a virtual homeland in your Neo-Eurasian movement; you have also been generous enough to publish my writing on two of your websites. My response now, however—after digesting three of your books (Eurasian Mission, The Fourth Political Theory, and The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory)—is that even though I have opposed nearly every act of U.S. foreign policy for the past 50 years, I would never consider making common cause against my own country with any international movement or foreign power; since I consider many of the leaders of my nation to be guilty of treason, I would be throwing away my right to denounce them if I committed the same crime.
I share your loathing for Postmodern Liberalism and its outrageous attempt to deconstruct the human form, seeing it as an ideology which is as far from Classical Liberalism as Cultural Marxism is from the theories of Karl Marx (though both Classical Liberalism and Classical Marxism had plenty of problems of their own). And I gravely salute your accurate, courageous, and prophetic picture of the self-inflicted doom now faced by the entire human race, as well as your crucial attempt—no matter how wrongheaded it may be in actual practice—to ground political ideology in Traditional metaphysics and eschatology. Beyond this, I entirely agree with you that the West, led by the United States, has been undermining Russian stability ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, offering provocation after provocation, and then portraying any legitimate act of Russian self-defense as a sign of expansionist aggression. On the other hand, I am not blind to the real expansionist aggression you have repeatedly advocated, nor to the elements of Postmodern Liberalism that you have incorporated into your own “Fourth Political Theory”.
You define Liberalism as the “absolute evil,” and claim that it would take nothing less than a third world war to destroy it. But before you subject all humanity to “revolutionary suicide”—a phrase made popular by one of our home-grown American madman, Jim Jones—I would advise that you begin purging your own ideology and movement of the last traces of the absolute evil you denounce. If you succeed in this you may begin to realize that Liberalism is now deeply engaged and far advanced in the process of destroying itself. In light of this, I suggest that you leave revolutionary suicide to the Liberals, and renounce your desire to immolate yourself, and all the rest of us, on Liberalism’s pyre. A third world war would be the end of humanity, and likely the end of all life on earth. If you are deluded enough to believe that any good, for anyone or any thing, could result from this cosmic crime, then I can only conclude that you have taken leave of your senses. Furthermore, as my wife Jenny comments, those most likely to survive this kind of war—if any survival is possible—would be the Luciferian global elites; the common man, who might still retain a shred of human decency and Traditional sensibility, would likely be wiped out.
You claim, as one of the pillars of your Fourth Political Theory, the Traditionalism of the great French metaphysician René Guénon—a perspective that I myself firmly adhere to—which you define as “Conservatism in its purest form.” Unfortunately, your understanding of Tradition as Guénon defined it—namely, as the science of universal metaphysics which is epitomized in our own age by the great God-given religions and wisdom traditions—is woefully deficient; you give every appearance of attempting to expound upon a subject that you have never seriously studied, apparently relying upon the ignorance of your listeners, or else their vague notion that esoteric doctrines, since they are inherently mysterious, can mean anything their exponent wants them to mean at any given time. There are certainly many areas of academic learning, such as contemporary sociology and modern German philosophy, where your expertise surpasses mind, but when it comes to Traditional metaphysics I have no hesitation in pointing out exactly where, either knowingly or unknowingly, you have departed from its central principles.
Metaphysics is not just anything, it is one particular thing; the same is true of Orthodox Christianity, of traditional civilizational Islam, and of any of the other revealed religions or spiritual traditions, including the Primordial Tradition itself—from which, according to René Guénon, all later sacred traditions have branched. Due to your lack of solid intellectual grounding in these matters, your metaphysics is vague, contradictory and filled with glaring errors, your picture of Christianity clearly heretical, and your presentation of Guénon’s doctrines totally inverted. Furthermore, your notion of Islam, my own chosen religion, is seriously twisted. To take only one example, you present the Takfiri Jihadists, who have killed even more Muslims than Christians, burning our mosques with copies of the Holy Qur’an still in them, as legitimate representatives of the religion of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him! And you continue to assert this even after these mad dogs, headed by international mercenaries, who have been willing to take funds, arms and strategic support from the United States of America—the hated “Atlantis”—have been formally excommunicated by the Grozny Declaration, promulgated in the city of Grozny, Chechnya, in August of 2016 by a number of Grand Muftis, as well as the Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar, the highest authority in traditional Sunni Islam—a declaration that was seconded by the Russian Council of Muftis itself.
To what degree these errors are based on simple ignorance, and how far they may be explained by deliberate and self-interested deception, cannot yet be determined. Nonetheless, in publishing them, you give every appearance of having taken certain sacred, God-given doctrines into your own hands, deliberately distorting them to serve various political agendas—and this is a degree of sacrilege that must not go unanswered. If Guénon exposed the spiritual deceptions of the Theosophists and the Spiritualists, I consider it my duty, if I am serious about following him, to subject you to the same treatment. Therefore I invite you, by this communiqué, to an intellectual contest on these matters. Both because you have touched upon many of the crucial issues of our time, and because the work of untangling your ingeniously-constructed contradictions presents a fascinating challenge in itself, I consider you a worthy opponent. I have issued this invitation to intellectual combat in line with the principle announced by the English poet William Blake, in his epic poem Jerusalem, namely that the suppression of the “mental war” by various “hirelings in the camp, the court and the university” must ultimately lead to the outbreak of bloody “corporeal war”—a war which, in our time, would inevitably spell the final end of Man. So read my book, and then answer it. If you cannot or will not do this, if you elect not to accept this challenge, then I will inform my readers that you have forfeited the match by default.
I await your reply.
Dugin against Dugin:
A Traditionalist Critique of the Fourth Political Theory
is available from:
Dear Prof. Hawking:
Greetings. I am writing to you to express some of my misgivings about modern scientific cosmology, which—in my humble opinion—is filled with many unacknowledged contradictions.
If the universe is all there is—a statement I presume you agree with—then this “all” must include space. But if so, how then can the universe expand if there is no space outside it for it to expand into? Expansion or contraction can only be seen from, and measured against, some frame of reference that is “stationary” in relation to the object it is measuring. But if the universe is all there is, then no such outside frame of reference could exist, consequently the cosmos cannot be determined to be expanding. The redshift is usually interpreted as indicating that the galaxies are flying apart from each other—but flying apart into what? Into something beyond the boundaries of the universe? Into something beyond all that is?
This is one of the many insoluble paradoxes that modern physics seems careful to avoid, but is nonetheless always posing. When we speak of the “size” or “expansion” or “age” of the universe, we always imagine it as existing as an object WITHIN our familiar dimensions of space and time. But it does not exist within space and time—it IS space and time. If the universe comprises all the space there is, then it cannot expand INTO space; if it comprises all the time there is, then it cannot have begun IN time, because there could have been no time “before” it existed for it to begin in. In other words, if the universe is all there is, it cannot be viewed and measured as if it were a discrete object. And if you answer that it can be so viewed by virtue of “thought experiments” constructed by human beings, then you are positing the human intellect as something that transcends the universe, just as God is said to do. Meister Eckhart would certainly agree.
Answer this if you can; meanwhile, I’ll propose you a second conundrum:
Modern physics has totally dispensed with the notion of uniform space, since space is warped by gravitational fields, and also with the notion of uniform time, since time expands or contracts based on the acceleration or deceleration of the observer. But if this is so, how then can you speak of what must have happened “three minutes” or “three seconds” or “a millionth of a second” after the Big Bang? If, as you claim, space has been expanding since then (though into what I can’t imagine), if all material objects—as soon as there were such things—have, on average, been flying apart from each other at (the last I heard) an ever-accelerating velocity, then spacetime must have had a radically different quality in the early universe, such that the measurements we call “minutes, seconds” could in no way be applied to it. A minute or a second is a specific fraction of some standard of periodic motion, such as the turning of the earth on its axis (itself variable) or the orbit of the earth around the sun (also variable)—or else some specific multiple of a higher-frequency periodic motion, such as the vibration of a quartz crystal or a cesium atom. But immediately after the Big Bang, and for quite a while after that apparently, there were no such things as planets to turn on their axes, or stars to be orbited by planets, or any sorts of crystals, or any sorts of atoms. And so—given that modern physics has annihilated the concept of uniform time—how can you apply such measurements as “minutes, seconds” to conditions of the early universe? Certainly no-one can prove you wrong, since any potential critic would need to return to the early universe to take the necessary measurements, which is impossible—but then, by the same token, you would need to make such the same impossible journey yourself to prove your own theories—and if you say that the cosmic microwave background gives us an accurate “snapshot” of the state of the universe over 13 billion “years” ago, I reply that this is only a working assumption, not a provable fact. How convenient for us (for you especially) that we now have authoritative pronouncements, said to be based on “the scientific method”, that can neither be the subject of actual measurements of the conditions we feel at liberty to pronounce upon, nor in any way be subjected to “repeatable experiments”, those sacred operations upon which the whole scientific method is said to be based! So: How can you apply to the early universe various (relatively) uniform units of measurement that can only be derived from a much later universe, especially in the absence of any uniform flow of time that could adjust the measure to the thing measured?
My third and last challenge is as follows:
If, according to Richard Feynman, “a system has not just one history, but every possible history”—and if, according to you, “M-theory [Prof. Hawking’s ultimate material explanation for everything] is not a theory in the usual sense [but a] whole family of different theories, each of which is a good description of observations only in some range of physical situations”—then are you not essentially saying that “M-theory is not just one theory, but every possible theory”? And is a conglomeration of all possible theories really any kind of theory at all? If every physical system is made up of every one of its possible histories, then, in order to deal with this complexity, would we not be forced to also allow that every mental system, every explanation, is necessarily made up of every one of its possible conceptual variations? The essence and use of a true theory, however, is that it is a single concept that unifies many facts, many possibilities, many measurements; if we are forced to define a theory as the set of all its possible variations—which your notion of M-theory seems to imply—then it is no longer a theory in the proper sense of the word, no longer an explanation. It is merely a series of ad hoc conceptual responses to an indeterminate set of probable measurements. So you would seem to be the patron and agent not only of a postmodern deconstruction of corporeal reality, but also of a similar deconstruction of the very notion of an intelligible physical theory capable of explaining that reality, neatly disguised under your “M-theory” notion. If physical theory begins to mimic the underlying chaos of probabilistic indeterminacy that it discerns on the material plane by itself becoming chaotic on the conceptual plane, the whole idea of natural law is called into question.
I would be delighted to receive, and ponder, any responses you might wish to make to these challenges.
For an infinitely more sophisticated and well-informed treatment of issues such as these, see the books of Dr. Wolfgang Smith, particularly The Quantum Enigma and Science and Myth: What We are Not Told. His work is introduced on his website, www.philos-sophia.org, where you can also view the trailer for his upcoming motion picture, The End of Quantum Reality. Dr. Smith —a physicist, metaphysician, and traditional Catholic who developed the equations that allow spacecraft to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere without burning up—is the author of
the most powerful refutation of Stephen Hawking to date (published as an appendix to Science and Myth), and he’s now setting his sights on Albert Einstein.
Meet him at: www.philos-sophia.org,
[Samuel Bendeck Sotillos interviewing Charles Upton, excerpted from Vectors of the Counter-Initiation: The Course and Destiny of Inverted Spirituality Sophia Perennis, 2012; All notes by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos]
[Samuel Bendeck Sotillos:]
Charles Upton (b. 1948) poet, author, activist, and veteran of the counter-culture has voyaged and experienced firsthand the many facets of the New Age cul-de-sac and its pitfalls which are all too often ignored. Psychedelics or hallucinogens, now termed entheogens, have played a pivotal role in the modern and postmodern seekers quest to circumvent the trappings of the empirical ego and attain Self-Realization since the 1960s. After a hiatus of nearly thirty years, psychedelic research has now made a revival, which should provoke much inquiry as to what underlies this phenomenon. It is interesting to note that the New Age Movement, the Human Potential Movement, Humanistic Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology all emerged in a common setting; they do not only share many similarities but have also assisted in each other’s development. For example, the English writer Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) could be said to be a single figure connecting of all of the above movements via his popularizing the perennial philosophy and his writings on psychedelics, both of which are acknowledged by the above movements and or disciplines. Huxley not only helped shape each of the above but provided an integrative theory in which they could take root. That said, while he popularized the perennial philosophy he is not considered to be a traditionalist or perennialist.
Where Mr. Upton parts ways with his New Age and counter-culture comrades is that since his introduction to the works of the traditionalist or perennialist school—most significantly René Guénon (1886-1951), Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) and Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1887-1947)—he has affiliated himself with this orientation. Mr. Upton has written numerous books and articles on traditional metaphysics and the perennial philosophy, most noteworthy is: The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (2001). Although he has abandoned the practices of his early search in the New Age and counter-culture movements, he acquired an abundant knowledge and understanding of these pseudo-spiritualties and is in a commendable position to inform and also caution contemporary seekers. Mr. Upton is a committed Muslim and a practitioner of Sufism and simultaneously acknowledges the “transcendent unity of religions”. The following interview offers a unique look at psychedelics in the light of the perennial philosophy by way of perennialist theory and also personal accounts of the author. This interview was conducted by electronic correspondence during March, April and May of 2011.
SBS: Perhaps we could begin with the central perennialist critique with regards to what has been termed—“consciousness expansion”, “altered states of consciousness”, “non-ordinary states of consciousness”—which distinguishes the psychic from the spiritual; it is this critique that many readers outside the perennialist or traditionalist circles will not be familiar with yet it is has created the greatest amount of confusion for contemporary seekers. Would you mind elaborating on this fundamental distinction which has profound implications with regard to recognizing authentic spirituality versus pseudo-spirituality or New Age spirituality?
Charles Upton: The psychic or intermediary plane is the world of subjectivity; the Spiritual plane is objectivity itself. As the psychic world is higher than the material world and encompasses it, so the Spirit is higher than both psyche and matter, and encompasses them. The psychic world is made up of beliefs, perceptions, impressions, experiences; the Spiritual world is composed of certainties—of things that are true even if we are not certain of them. When Beat Generation poet Lew Welch said, “I seek union with what goes on whether I look at it or not”, he was positing the level of Spirit. The psychic plane is relatively objective in that it is not enclosed within the individual psyche; as Jung demonstrated, it also has a collective aspect. This collectivity is not limited to a mass human subjectivity or “collective unconscious”, however; it is host as well to many classes of non-human beings, including those the Greeks called the daimones, the Northern Europeans, the Fairies, and the Arabs, the Jinn. It carries nothing less than the impressions of the experiences of all sentient beings.
The psychic plane is the (relatively) objective environment of the human psyche, just as the earth is the (relatively) objective environment of the human body. Our apparently individual subjectivity is co-extensive with innumerable other subjectivities, both human and non-human; as Huston Smith said, “the brain breathes thoughts like the lungs breathe air.” But it remains essentially subjective for all that; it is the realm of experiences, not realities. An experience is an impression of an objective reality, either material or Spiritual, as received by a limited subject, an impression that is edited by the inherent or acquired limitations of the subject experiencing it. It is phenomenon, not noumenon. Whatever relatively objective data can be accessed through psychic means (clairvoyance, precognition etc.) always pertains to contingent entities immersed in one form or another of space and time, linear or multidimensional; eternal realities cannot be intuited by psychic means.
The Spiritual plane, on the other hand, is purely objective. It is not composed of our impressions, but of things we have impressions of—of noumena that transcend sense experience and do not depend for their existence upon our awareness of them, just as—on the level of sense experience—the mountain outside our window is really there, whether or not we happen to be looking at it. The Spiritual plane is the realm of the first intelligible manifestations or “names” of God—of metaphysical principles that are not simply abstract ideas, but living realities that have the power, under the proper conditions, to dominate, guide, purify and conform our psyches to them—to “save our souls”.
So Spiritual realities transcend subjective experience. But if we never experienced them, they would not be effective to enlighten us and save us. Spiritual experiences, then—what the Sufis call the ahwal or spiritual states (which are necessary elements of the Spiritual Path) are psychic experiences grounded not in the psychic subjectivity of the one experiencing them but in objective realities that transcend the realm of sense—in the Names of God. To be subject to a Spiritual state is to have a direct intellective intuition of an objective Spiritual reality that transcends the state in question, one that the subjective state by which it is intuited will always both veil and reveal; and if Spiritual realities partially transcend our subjective experience of them, God transcends our experience of Him absolutely. To experience God is to be called to immediately transcend that necessarily limited experience of Him, and come into naked existential contact with Him as He is in Himself, beyond all experience; as the Sufis put it, “the human being does not know God in His Absolute Essence; it is God who knows Himself within the human form.” The Sufi practice of contemplating God in this manner is known as fikr, which might be defined as “the ongoing sacrifice of every conception of the Absolute, generated by the Absolute, in the face of the Absolute.”
So we can say that Spiritual realities are objective, and that God, the Source of all such realities, is the Absolute Object. But “object” here does not mean “whatever is perceived by a limited subject as other than itself”; taken in this sense, “object” is relative to that limited subject and so partakes of its subjectivity. God as Absolute Object is equally the indwelling Divine Subject, the Absolute Witness, what the Hindus name the Atman, what Frithjof Schuon calls “the absolute Subject of our contingent subjectivities.” The Absolute Witness stands “behind” all psychic experience, impassively witnessing them, not identifying with them; here is the precise difference between the psyche and the Spirit.
We cannot reach God through the psyche, through experience; the essence of the Spiritual Path is to place ourselves in the presence of God, and let Him reach us. He may do this through experiences, through events, or through a secret action within the soul that we aren’t even aware of. The function of spiritual experiences or states is not to “enrich the soul” with fascinating impressions of the Divine, but to burn out specific aspects of the ego, specific attachments and identifications; this is why the realized Sufi, the one who has transcended himself, died to himself, become objective to himself—or rather to the Absolute Witness within him—is beyond spiritual states entirely.
SBS: Following up with this point, what can you say about the assumption that the pursuit of expanding consciousness or achieving an altered state of consciousness is an end unto itself, as if it was a desirable human norm which contradicts perennial principles—“The goal is not altered states but altered traits.” This perilous approach often involves an ad hoc mixture of spiritual techniques rather than a persistent adherence to one orthodox spiritual form. Could you please speak to this puzzling development?
CU: This is all a kind of council of desperation, as well as an indication that the breakdown of the traditional revealed religions, leading to a One-World Religion made up out of the resulting fragments—a development that will culminate in the regime of Antichrist—is proceeding right on schedule.
As religion degenerates, the felt sense of the reality of God is progressively replaced by an obsession with morality for its own sake, and with religious fervor considered as an end in itself, both taken out of their own proper context. No longer is moral purity felt to be something we naturally owe to God in view of His love for us and of the fact that He created us, something that prevents us from falling into the ingratitude of worshipping the passions as idols in His place; now morality has become an idol in itself. By the same token, fervor has lost sight of the God Who supposedly inspires it; it has become a substitute for His felt presence rather than a response to it. In a lot of contemporary Protestant hymns, for example—or rather contemporary “Christian pop” songs—the singer sings primarily about his or her own feelings, not about God. Likewise various “consciousness studies” programs now available in academia tend to concentrate on subjective states of consciousness, as well as the belief-systems that support them and the techniques by which they can sometimes be produced, rather than understanding spiritual states as reflections of an objective metaphysical order, and thus as instances of knowledge rather than simply experience. According to Sufi doctrine, spiritual states are not acquisitions but gifts of God. He sends them in order to “burn out” specific passions, attachments and ego-knots; after the attachment in question is dissolved, that particular state does not return. For example, a habit of neurotic fear, burnt out by a state (hal) of ecstatic love, is transformed into a station (maqam) of courage and equanimity; a temporary “state” has resulted in an established “trait”. And the fully-realized Sufi is said to be beyond both states and stations, since he no longer maintains any separative ego which could be the subject of them; he has attained objective metaphysical realization.
When traditional faith is strong, it is a source of security and certainty for the faithful; they feel that they are in the presence of sacred mysteries, mysteries that they can rely upon but need not pry into. But when traditional religions weakens, then certain people who would have otherwise been spiritually satisfied simply to live within a sacred tradition and ambience, and who would have saved their souls thereby, conceive the desire for a direct mystical relationship with God so as to make up for what has been lost—a relationship that may not in fact be proper to them. They imagine that such a relationship could only result from some extravagant spiritual tour-de-force—and psychedelic drugs immediately appear as a plausible way of taking that tour. But the psychedelics, as well as various spiritual techniques such as secularized non-traditional yoga, are often approached on the basis of the very false and limiting context that people are seeking them in order to free themselves from: of the spiritual life as an exercise in self-will (as in the case of compulsive morality), and of God conceived as an experience rather than a Reality (as in the case of self-referential fervor; the New Age movement for example, which deifies experience, can be described as a kind of “non-Christian Pentecostalism”). In the absence of a felt sense of the Grace of God based upon faith, which St. Paul calls “the presence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”, nothing is possible in the spiritual life outside of the Promethean attempt to take heaven by storm, and spiritual narcissism—two pathologies which are intimately related to each other and never appear apart. The will cut off from the spiritual Intellect (which is always virtually in force wherever Faith and Grace are present) produces Prometheanism; the alienation of the affections from the Intellect produces narcissism.
It is highly interesting that psychedelic drugs burst upon the scene at precisely the same moment that the Second Vatican Council was abolishing traditional Roman Catholicism and deconstructing the sacramental order. It’s as if the grace of the Roman Catholic sacraments, while they were still intact, overflowed their specifically Catholic context and maintained a certain level of elevation in the “collective unconscious” of the western world, an elevation which was rapidly lost when that grace was cut off. Faced with a sudden unconscious or half-conscious sense of spiritual loss, and the stifling sensation that always results when the psyche is cut off from the plane of the Spirit, the western collectivity became susceptible to the temptation of psychedelics, which at the very least can provide (though not without extremely negative consequences) a horizontal psychic expansiveness which appears to compensate for, and sometimes actually counterfeits, the loss of a vertical spiritual elevation, while at the same time concealing the fact that such a loss ever occurred. Psychedelics, in other words, were a kind of Luciferian “booby prize” offered as compensation for the fall of western Christendom.
SBS: A compelling case that the psychedelic advocates and researchers make is that because psychoactive properties are naturally occurring in a number of plants (and even endogenous to the human body) which have been used in sacred rituals throughout the world since time immemorial—Soma hypothesized to be the Fly Agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria), Teonanácatl—Náhuatl, language of the Aztecs: “God’s flesh” or “flesh of the gods” (Psilocybe mexicana), Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi), Ololiuqui (Turbina corymbosa) and Tlililtzin (Ipomoea violacea) seeds of a Morning Glory, Ibogaine or Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga), Ayauasca or Yajé (Banisteriopsis caapi), Kykeon made with Ergot (Claviceps paspali and Claviceps purpurea), Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), Belladonna (Atropa belladonna), Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum), Datura, Brugmansia, Ska Pastora (Salvia divinorum), Pituri (Duboisia hopwoodii), etc.—some advocates or researchers have explicitly or implicitly claimed that they have been the precursors to the foundation of religion itself. These mind-altering plants have been suggested to be the central components of Soma of the Rig Veda or Hoama/Homa of the Avesta identified as none other than the mushroom Amanita muscaria and the principal rite of the Eleusinian Mysteries (Plato, Aristotle and Epictetus were said to have been initiates) utilizing Kykeon purported to be the fungus ergot which contains psychoactive alkaloids such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylam- ide); it has also been asserted that that Manna of the Hebrew Bible was a psychedelic, the use of psychoactive mushrooms have also been ascribed to the cult of Mithras, and said to be used in ancient Egypt, even the origins of Christianity and Christ himself are hypothesized to be the mushroom Amanita muscaria. What are your thoughts on this important discussion?
CU: Since religions are founded by Divine action through prophets and avatars (Buddhism possibly excepted yet Gautama Buddha is considered to be the ninth Avatar of Lord Vishnu within the Hindu tradition), to say that they have been initiated by psychedelics is to deny that God can act on His own initiative, and consequently to deny God. It is to make “religion” an entirely human affair, and thus to posit something that does not fit the definition of that word. No religious tradition claims to have been founded on the basis of psychedelic experience; such claims emanate from users of psychedelics who like to project their fantasies upon traditions they in no way intend to follow. Anyone who thinks that Moses met God on Sinai or Jesus became “Christ” after eating some mushroom, because how else could they have done it, has no sense of the sacred whatsoever. Within certain contexts and in certain yugas it might have been spiritually possible to open initiates to the graces of an already established spiritual Way through the use of psychedelics, but such things are certainly not possible to us in our own time, except at great cost—and with what coin could we pay that cost, poor as we are? In any case it is certain that the establishment of a legitimate spiritual Way through the use psychedelics has never been either possible or necessary.
SBS: While the perennial philosophy acknowledges the Shamanic traditions of the First Peoples, a central challenge to the notion that entheogens or psychedelics have been used since the beginning of time is that the “beginning of time” or “pre-history” which some suggest to be around 5000 BC, when contextualized within cyclical time it is likely to be the Kali-Yuga or the Iron Age, the culmination of this temporal cycle or at best the Dvapara Yuga or Bronze Age, the phase preceding the final age. Thus the use of sacred plants that have psychoactive properties occurred late in the cosmic cycle (manvantara) and not at its inception, the Krita-Yuga or Satya-Yuga, known as the Golden Age in Western cosmology which would support prominent historian of religion, Mircea Eliade’s (1907-1986) astute observation: “the use of intoxicants…is a recent innovation and points to a decadence in shamanic technique.” Could you please elaborate on the perennialist perspective with regards to this point?
CU: I agree with Eliade’s initial view of psychedelics; when a spiritual tradition degenerates there is no telling what people will try in order to regain what is felt to be lost. Perhaps, God willing, something can be partially regained through psychedelics under certain cosmic conditions—conditions we certainly do not enjoy today—but the very attempt to regain a former spiritual exaltation is evidence of a degeneration. The Krita-yuga was characterized by a “mass theophanic consciousness” in which psychedelics were not needed; in the words of Genesis, mankind “walked with God in the cool of the evening”. In my view (and I am open to correction), Shamanism came in with the Treta-yuga or Silver Age, when the cosmic environment was subject to imbalances due to demonic incursions that the Shamans—as they them- selves maintain, according to Eliade—were sent by God to correct. And as the Shamans of our own time have asserted, also according to Eliade, their ancestors were immensely more powerful than they, and didn’t need psychedelics; so the use of the psychedelic “crutch” undoubtedly came in later than the Shamanic dispensation itself. Also of great interest is the fact that the Christian visionary and stigmatist Anne Catherine Emmerich, [1774-1824], in her book The Life of Christ and Biblical Revelations , based on her visions, mentions an early non-Biblical patriarch called Hom, who was either named after, or provided a name for, a particular plant he considered to be sacred. This plant, in my opinion, is the Haoma plant of the ancient Persians, equivalent to the Vedic Soma. According to Emmerich, the lineage that sprang from Hom, which included one Dsemschid (undoubtedly the legendary Persian king Jamshid), became polluted with Satanic fantasies, though she apparently did not recognize the plant in question as an intoxicant. It is highly unlikely that Emmerich, a nearly illiterate Westphalian peasant, would have known anything about Persian history or Zoroastrian lore, much less about the effects of exotic psychedelics. So it may well be true that the use of such plants, at least beyond the cosmic era that might have allowed their use under certain conditions, represents a truly ancient deviation in humanity’s relationship with God. (It must not be forgotten, however, that according to René Guénon and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Soma and Haoma, in their higher symbolic sense, are not psychoactive plants but the source of the “Draught of Immortality” which effects the return of the Human Form to its fitra, its primordial Edenic state before the Fall. In other words, they symbolize a particular stage of spiritual realization.)
As for Eliade’s later notion that psychedelic ecstasy is identical to ecstasy produced by other means, I speculate that he said this only because he experienced psychedelics himself and had nothing else to compare them to. He was an incomparable scholar of religion, but he had no religious faith; he characterized religions, myths and metaphysical beliefs as “artistic creations” referring to no objective reality; he placed them on the psychic plane, not the Spiritual.
SBS: There is the notion that the use of peyote (Lophophora williamsii) via the syncretistic Native American Church (NAC) is compatible with other traditional Shamanic rites which did not originally utilize this plant medicine. For example, there are some that suggest that the Sun Dance Religion is compatible with peyote use (some have even introduced Ayauasca or Yajé into this sacred ritual), yet traditional spiritual authorities within these communities, such as medicine man and Sun Dance chief, Thomas Yellowtail (1903-1993) suggest quite the opposite, that they are not compatible and that such syncretism or mixing of foreign elements such as peyote are in fact dangerous and could be spiritually harmful, not to mention that they do not do justice to either spiritual way and end up watering each tradition down, ultimately leading to the demise of both. Do you have any thoughts on this?
CU: Yellowtail was right.
SBS: In conjunction with the amalgamation of Native American Church (NAC) there is also the phenomena of the psychoactive brew Ayauasca or Yajé from South America which has been widely exported throughout the world made extensively available through the syncretic churches of Santo Daime founded by Mestre Irineu or Raimundo Irineu Serra (1892-1971) and União do Vegetal (Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal or UDV) founded by Mestre Gabriel or José Gabriel da Costa (1922-1971) combining Catholicism, Spiritism of Allan Kardec (1804-1869), African and South American shamanism. In conjunction with this, we need to also mention that the search for mystical experiences has also brought about the phenomenon of “spiritual tourism” to remote parts of the Amazon basin that has its damaging effects on the traditional societies living in these areas, extending itself to all sapiential traditions. Could you speak to these interesting phenomenon’s which is unquestionably a hallmark of New Age thought?
CU: To syncretize different forms of the sacred, assuming that they were originally true Spiritual ways, not simply psychic “technologies”, is to relativize and subjectivize them and thus drive everything down to the psychic level while sealing off access to the Spirit; and this is tantamount to demonic invocation. And even if the practices in question are fundamentally psychic to begin with, mixing them can only generate further chaos. Spiritual Unity is higher than psychic multiplicity and encompasses it, but once the Unity of the Spirit is veiled, the idea becomes: “You mean you only have one god? You are spiritually deprived! We have hundreds” —the “reign of quantity” with a vengeance! The problem with this approach is that no one of these many gods can be the Absolute Reality, or even a psychic symbol for it—given that, by definition, you can’t have more than one Absolute. And the psychic chaos created by mixing African and South American shamanism with Catholicism and European spiritualism can only be compared to playing the music of Bach, the Moody Blues, Charlie Parker and Inti Illimani all at the same time—a practice that could only destroy all presence of mind and unity of soul in the listener. Of course some people like that kind of thing; instead of transcending their individuality through Spiritual ascent, they simply want to shatter it, and consequently sink below it, into the infra-psychic. It’s called “postmodernism”.
And spiritual tourism in places like the Amazon damages not only the indigenous cultures but the tourists too. (I recently saw a news item where one village prohibited such tourism; a villager characterized the North American strangers who’d visited them and immediately asked to be told all about the local sacred rituals and beliefs as, in effect, “creepy”.) When well-heeled Norteamericanos and Europeans enter dirt poor villages in the Amazon and elsewhere looking to satisfy their spiritual hunger, a hunger based on their abandonment and betrayal of their own spiritual tradition (usually Christianity), they tempt the village elders to what traditional Catholics call the sin of simony: selling sacred things for money. Spiritual tourists are by and large not pilgrims but thieves, vampires. In most cases they aren’t looking for a spiritual Path to dedicate their lives to, but simply picking up here and there whatever sacred art objects, or psychedelic experiences, or sacred rituals degraded to the level of mere spectacle, might suite their fancy—if, that is, they aren’t actually sorcerers in search of “personal power”. Very often their basic set is psychic rather than spiritual; like most tourists, they are looking for “experiences”, not principles to live by. They leave behind them the destructive influences of their own profane postmodern attitudes, and return home polluted with the toxic psychic residues of the forms of the sacred they have plundered, so as to release them to do their damage within their own cultures.
SBS: Another important point to discuss is that while there are traditional Shamanic societies who today still utilize psychoactive plants in their sacred rites—i.e. the Huichol, Tarahumara, Cora, Mazatec, Bwiti, Kayapó, Fang, Mitsogo, Jivaro, Yanomami, Koryak, etc.—this does not necessarily mean that those outside these racial and ethnic groups will also have the same spiritual and beneficial response with the use of these plants. It is as if the different indigenous peoples were given different plant medicines particular to their human makeup and ecological context. Could you please speak to this sensitive theme as it is perhaps “politically incorrect”?
CU: This is undoubtedly true in many cases. If the invocation of the name Allah should not be expected to be spiritually fruitful for a Buddhist, then by the same token the use of certain psychoactive plants outside of their traditional cultural and ritual context is not likely to have the same effect as it would within those contexts, and will most likely have a much more negative one. Such psychic and cultural bleed-throughs may be accurately compared to the breakdown of discrete and self-contained ecosystems. Asian carp are fine in Asia; in the Great Lakes they are a disaster. And those who hope to benefit from the sacred worldviews of the Huichols, the Tarahumara, the Native American Church should be willing to live under the same conditions of deprivation and oppression and social marginalization as the Huichols and the Tarahumara and the Native American Church. If you want the spirituality of the Res, accept the suffering of the Res.
Shamanism, even relatively degenerate Shamanism, has a certain practical justification under truly primitive conditions, since it represents a large portion of the technological heritage of the tribe. The Shaman heals disease, finds and attracts game, carries on criminal investigations, influences the weather, protects the tribe in war and guards it against psychological imbalances and/or demonic incursions. But under modern conditions, when at least some of these functions can be fulfilled by other means, Shamanism loses a certain amount of its raison d’être. French poet and cinematographer Jean Cocteau [1889-1963] recounts the story of an anthropologist who was studying native folkways in Haiti, where trees are (or were) used for long-distance communication; when a woman’s husband was away at market, she might send a message to him by speaking to a tree, and receive his answer by the same means. When the anthropologist asked the natives why they spoke to trees, their answer was: “Because we are poor. If we were rich we should have the telephone”.
In my opinion, those persons of the postmodern West whose psychophysical nature is not already fully integrated into the Spirit, or at least fully submissive to It—a condition extremely rare in our time—should never touch the Shamanism of the primal cultures, since westerners lack the protection provided by the basic spiritual set and character-formation of those cultures. The rare and exceptional case is that of the person who, by the grace of God, has found and been accepted not simply by a working traditional Shaman or medicine man, but a true holy man of one of the primal spiritual Ways—though how he or she could recognize such a holy man in the first place is hard to imagine.
SBS: You have undertaken an in-depth study of UFO phenomenon in light of traditional metaphysics in your book Cracks in the Great Wall (2005). There are numerous writers and researchers within the psychedelic world who claim that there is a connection between the psychedelic experience and UFO’s sightings and/or abductions, especially for those who use the substance DMT (dimethyltryptamine). To many this might be the siren call or the advent of the New Age, but to the exponents of the perennial philosophy this has the characteristics of the Kali-Yuga written all over it. Could you please speak to this?
CU: As I see it, the UFO “aliens” are denizens of the intermediary or psychic plane, what Muslims call the Jinn. So it is not surprising that the use of psychedelics could make one more vulnerable to incursions from that world. René Guénon in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times  spoke of “fissures” appearing in the “Great Wall” separating the material plane from the intermediary plane, fissures that open our world to “infra-psychic” forces; to me the UFO phenomenon is a perfect example of this process. These fissures appear due to cyclical degeneration and the approaching dissolution of our world, but they are further widened and exploited by human activity, sometimes unconscious, sometimes deliberate. I believe that such things as the spread of the electronic media, including the internet, the liberation of nuclear energy, the use of psychedelics and the general fascination with psychic powers and the paranormal continue to widen the cracks in the Great Wall, which, since it acts as the border between the material and the psychic worlds, can be affected by both material and psychic means; the very fact that such powerful psychic experiences can be produced by a material substance like LSD undoubtedly furthers this process. And it is interesting in this context that, according to Timothy Leary [1920-1996], LSD was not “activated” as a psychedelic until the first atomic bomb was detonated in New Mexico. (On the material side, this border apparently has something to do with the electromagnetic spectrum, which is why automobile engines will often die and electronic equipment malfunction in close proximity to a UFO.) Furthermore, those people Guénon called “agents of the Counter-Initiation” are working to widen the cracks in the Great Wall consciously and deliberately.
The case of pioneer rocket scientist Jack Parsons [1914-1952] comes immediately to mind. Parsons was a follower of black magician Aleister Crowley [1875-1947] and an associate of L. Ron Hubbard [1911-1986], another follower of Crowley, who founded the Church of Scientology and who also (according to my correspondence with Beat Generation writer William Burroughs [1914-1997] in the late 1960’s, when Burroughs was in the process of breaking with Scientology) had a background in Naval Intelligence, something confirmed by Peter Levenda in his trilogy Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft. Parsons, according to UFOlogist Jacques Vallée [b. 1939] in his book Messengers of Deception , claimed to have met a “Venusian” in the Mojave Desert; according to Levenda he performed Pagan rituals at his launchings. He went on to co-found both the Aerojet Corporation and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; a crater was named after him on the dark side of the Moon. Parsons openly stated that he was working to open a “door” into another dimension; it was shortly after his Mojave Desert rituals that the first major post-WWII civilian sightings of UFOs occurred in North America, through of course there is no way of knowing if the two are related. (In the careers of Crowley, Parsons and Hubbard we can see clear indications of the action of the Counter-Initiation.) So conscious or unconscious “invocations” of the Jinn appear to be a major factor in the breakdown of the energy-wall between the material and the intermediary plane; such invoca- tions are undoubtedly inspired by the Jinn themselves, specifically the kafir or unbelieving Jinn (the demons, that is; the Qur’an teaches that some of the Jinn are unbelievers and some are Muslims). In other words, the kafir Jinn are working to break down the Great Wall from their side as well. When the Wall finally crashes, our world will end.
SBS: As you are a veteran of the counter-culture movement, I am wondering if you would not mind speaking about your own personal experiences with psychedelics. In doing so could you please describe the psychological and the environmental factors known in psychedelic circles as “set and setting”, including what substance and quantity you ingested during any “positive” psychedelic experiences?
CU: My “set” was always: “I seek the Clear Light; I wish to open to higher consciousness; I hope to see God”. And my setting was almost invariably a place of beauty in the natural world. Leaving aside my many more or less positive mescaline and peyote trips (though one was quite painful and rigorous—deliberately so), my two rather unpleasant experiences with psilocybin mushrooms, and my one extremely powerful trip on morning glory seeds (whose active ingredient is “organic acid”, lysergic acid amide), the settings for my three LSD trip were 1) the valley below Alpine Dam on Mt. Tamalpias, Marin County, California; 2) the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia; 3) Joshua Tree National Monument in the deserts of Southern California. As for dosage, we who bought our acid “on the street” never really knew. Various microgram numbers were given or not given by our sources; many times we were just told “this is one hit” or “5 hits”, or someone who had already ingested some of the batch in question might suggest how much we should take. The first trip came out of a blue pill, the second out of a “windowpane” and the third out of a “blotter”. A windowpane was a tiny square of clear solid gelatin of the kind used for gelatin capsules; a blotter was a square of blotter-paper. Acid was sold in the latter two forms to demonstrate that it was most likely not adulterated, since you never knew what might be in a pill or capsule besides acid, or instead of acid.
SBS: Could you please describe in detail what transpired both inwardly and outwardly during this psychedelic session?
CU: Session One: essentially a “Second Bardo” trip, “the Bardo of Experiencing Reality” (or rather, as I would now say, “existence”) according to the system developed by Timothy Leary and based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead: Time slowed down immensely and became “specialized”; the landscape was transfigured into a scene of unearthly earthly beauty; matter was transformed into, or clearly recognized as, a coagulation of energy—if I squeezed a stone it would vibrate and sizzle in my hand; the Celestial Light of Heaven almost came down, or started to; wings almost sprouted on my shoulders; I looked at an acorn cap and thought I was seeing a newly-hatched baby snake still coiled up as he had been in his shell (later in Vancouver, British Columbia, after reading a poem based on that experience at a café, I was told by another of the performers, a traditional London “busker”, that in that vision I had come upon a piece of Druid lore), etc. At one point a short, gnarled figure appeared whom I thought of as a “pirate”, he was disgruntled, irritated, as if to say “Hey you kids! Get off my property!” (I was tripping with a friend). Later I realized that he was in fact a gnome, a spirit of the Earth element in the system of Paracelsus; I further realized that by dropping acid in that forested canyon by that clear stream of water we had done the equivalent of breaking into his house uninvited or even walking through his wall; no wonder he was angry! Here’s the poem I wrote about that trip:
The Lightning’s Kiss
the storm is directly above us:
surf crashing on the shoreline
of the hills—
flashing white, blue
moil in a turbulence—
and blotting the Sun
and revealing him again
in his course—
our external destinies
rush to crazy oblivion
in the sky above—
grey, green, dark & almost white,
the treetrunks boil up to Heaven!
light up like bleeding arteries;
slender arms and sinews of branches,
sparkling hieroglyphs of leaves,
architectural script of rock,
the gnarled old face of the vegetable Druid
frowning thunderous from the roots,
his countenance beating
like a human heart—
and the creek is filled
with men’s voices
the single-minded, the inexorable
in one motion through time—
rare fluencies of speech,
sparkling emerald syntax
in the masculine sunlight,
illuminating the brilliance
of contention and declamation—
sounds of crickets, secrets,
goblets of Egyptian sound,
the linked syllables of Karma
in the direction of the
and behind me, over my shoulder
the Tyger growls—
chewing the bones of his prey to splinters
in a keening, crying Wind.
and the wind in the leaves
is the voices of women
wailing in love
coiling whispers around the treetrunks—
drawing long shimmering cadences
through the five-fingered strings of branches,
and making an anguish of visible pleasure
that moves through the forest
like the cries of living violins
as the bow draws over the nipples
releasing a wind of singing
that shivers in the branches
and through the branches of my flesh
like ripples through a
shaft of smoke.
through rock & wood:
the war outside
by bomb, or dollar,
is ground through
wheels of Nature –
or Nature herself,
makes war outside
should be: not
Which is Origin, Man
or what he sees,
Where can I work—
in these cool and
or in the gut
of the machine
made of human hands
these elements see
in their Mirror?
If anyone thinks it is a “good” poem, this simply demonstrates the great gulf that exists between the aesthetic dimension and the spiritual dimension, though spiritual truth can certainly express itself by way of aesthetic beauty. The Qur’an calls the Jinn-inspired poets of pre-Islamic Arabia those who say that which they do not, and Rumi, the greatest poet of Islam, had the following to say about his art:
My disposition is such that I don’t want anyone to suffer on my account….I am loved by those who come to see me, and so I compose poetry to entertain them lest they grow weary. Otherwise, why on earth would I be spouting poetry? I am vexed by poetry. I don’t think there is anything worse. It is like having to put one’s hands into tripe to wash it for one’s guests because they have an appetite for it. That is why I must do it.
Session Two: a First Bardo trip, the Bardo of “the Clear Light of the Void”, the “set” for which I had posited by reading the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra right before ingestion: No hallucinations, no visual or auditory distortions, simply the obvious fact that experience could go along quite happily with no experiencer there at all; as the Beatles put it, “Life goes on within you and without you.” And since “I” was empty of self-nature, essentially snuffed out, the world I saw—immense, beautiful, snow-capped mountains, viewed in pristine clarity—was equally empty. Nothing really there. This self-and-world annihilation only persisted, however, when I was alone; as soon as I approached another human being—a girl in this case—“I” began to come back into existence; from this I learned that relatedness, or polarity, is the principle of all manifestation—a truth that the Buddhists call “Indra’s Net”. As the Heart Sutra puts it: “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form”. Precisely.
Session Three: probably a Third Bardo trip, “the Bardo of Seeking Rebirth”, a condition in which ego-transcendence is blocked, and consequently the tripper (or the consciousness-principle after physical death) is experiencing the pain and suffering of chaos, leading him to attempt to escape from this chaos into some kind of stable form that isn’t exploding in a million directions all the time. My “set” here may not have been as pure as that of Session Two, since I had already begun to read the books of “sorcerer” Carlos Castaneda [1925-1998], whom I met on one occasion. I had a brief experience of the higher reaches of the Second Bardo when the world appeared as a “tree” whose fruit was a constellation of Buddha or Bodhisattva images as in a Tibetan thanka (sacred painting), but it didn’t last; for the rest of the time I was just waiting to come down. When I closed my eyes the cactuses and thorny chaparral bushes of the desert around me were reproduced as writhing, thorn-studded whips or cables, like the ocotillo plant. I stared at my Toyota Land Cruiser and just couldn’t make out what it was: it looked like an ever-shifting 17-dimensional arrangement of wheels, pulleys and intersecting planes, like an M. C. Escher print. In this trip, like my two psilocybin trips, I was mostly just “doing time”.
SBS: From your own point of view why would you consider these psychedelic experiences—“good trips” or “bad trips”—and what criteria could be used to asses this?
CU: To answer this question I need to define what “good trip” and “bad trip” usually meant to the hippies: a good trip was one that felt good, a bad trip, one that felt bad. Moral or intellectual or spiritual criteria were rarely applied; the most common standard of judgment was hedonistic—though some trippers were capable of realizing that the pain of certain psychedelic experiences might teach one something or work as a psychic catharsis. From that point of view, my first trip was mostly “good”, my second trip “good”, and my third trip mostly “bad”—though nowhere near as bad as a real bad trip, filled with paranoia and panic.
From the standpoint of spiritual insight, the second session was the only real “trip”—and it was the only one in which I wasn’t going anywhere. It showed me the possibility and reality of ego-transcendence (though not how to attain it on any stable basis), and taught me, as I said above, that existence is fundamentally relational. The first session showed me the existence of another “world”, specifically the “etheric plane”, the layer of the intermediate or psychic plane where the elementals reside; that started me on a long series of excursions into the elf-world, probably because, without my knowing it, LSD had permanently breached the natural energy-barrier or “etheric wall” between my material and subtle (not Spiritual) levels of consciousness—the microcosmic analogue of the “Great Wall” René Guénon speaks of in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times . This left me with a lifelong over-sensitivity to psychic forces that has produced many experiences of great pain over the years, made it hard for me to meditate (too much psychic “static”), and caused me to be vulnerable to demonic attack. If any good came of this condition it was limited to an ability to “listen in”, as it were, to the councils of the demons, and find out something about what they are up to on a collective level, so that I can avoid certain of their influences and warn others.
The third session was just sad; all I learned from that one was, “no more LSD”.
SBS: Do you have any further reflections on these experiences in light of your present-day outlook on psychedelics? Did your use of psychedelics prompt you to enter a more sustaining spiritual path? And do you still use psychedelics in conjunction with your spiritual practice?
CU: Yes: the conclusion that, from the spiritual perspective, no trip is good—especially if one is actually able to access higher consciousness or “see God” by means of it (assuming, of course, that these experiences are not delusions, or so mixed with delusionary elements that the way to the valid experiences and insights they counterfeit is not in fact blocked forever). If you drop acid, see horrible hallucinations and experience excruciating feelings of loneliness, degradation and fear, you may actually be luckier than if you experience “ecstasy” and “profound insight” and “consciousness of God”, if not (momentary) “liberation from the wheel of becoming”. If you break your way into the Inner Chamber on your own initiative, you have committed sacrilege—how can you ever become obedient to and annihilated in God’s will if you think you have the right to break into His house any time the fancy suits you? I am not saying that the higher consciousness that can on certain occasions be experienced through psychedelics may not sometimes have a positive effect on one’s life and outlook—but at what cost?
Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh [1926-2008], my first Sufi shaykh, strictly prohibited the use of all drugs, including psychedelics. My 20 years under his guidance were mostly spent laboriously recollecting and healing the psyche I had blown to the four winds through the use of psyche- delics, and also undoubtedly through the abuse of kundalini-yoga practiced without benefit of a teacher and a tradition. If I had never entered the Sufi path, however, I might never have seen just how damaged I was; I might have tripped on from one psychic state to another and never realized that I was headed for destruction, if not in this world then certainly in the next. In the words of the Noble Qur’an, God guides aright whom He will and leads astray whom He will….God is the best of plotters. And as for whether or not psychedelics in some way prompted me to enter the Sufi path, that is hard to answer. I entered that path because God called me. Whether He called me through certain valid insights or salutary warnings provided by psychedelics is by and large irrelevant. If you find God after being disappointed in love or wounded in war, does this mean you can recommend such experiences to other people as a way of finding God? All these trappings of personal destiny are at best irrelevant, and at worst a case of idolatry. If you worship the occasion you will never find the Essence; if you worship the means you will never reach the End. It may be that psychedelics were part of the occasion for my entry into the Spiritual path, but the occasion is not the cause. And I haven’t used any psychedelic substance, including marijuana, for over 20 years.
SBS: In response to your comments about the implicit dangers of having a “good” trip versus a “bad” trip due to the nature of the experience, could not such an experience be a “door opener” to an authentic spiritual path, if not grasped on to—“When you get the message, hang up the phone.”? Especially in light of the many seekers that have had psychedelic experiences and have nonetheless formally affiliated themselves within a revealed tradition. Most notably Huston Smith (b. 1919) comes to mind, would you mind elaborating?
CU: It could be; clearly it has been for some people. But its function as a door-opener is often overshadowed by the fact that psychedelic experience is so intense that all later spiritual experience and practice tend to pale by comparison; you keep judging them, consciously or unconsciously, as to whether they “measure up” to LSD. Huston Smith once complained to me that even after years of spiritual practice in a variety of traditions, notably Sufism, he was never able to “regain” the level of opening and insight provided by acid. That’s the problem in a nutshell: to attempt to bring back the former glory of one’s psychedelic days is to reject, often in total unconsciousness, what God is offering you now. God’s will for you is always in the present, whereas, in the words of William Blake [1757-1827], “Memory is Eternal Death”. In the Sufi view, the Spiritual Path is not the quest for higher consciousness but the purification of the soul from anything that would block the influx of higher consciousness. In light of this conception, experiences of rigor and abasement and contraction (qabd) are as important as experiences of spiritual expansion (bast); Ibn Ata’allah [d. 1309] even says that there is much more danger of violating spiritual courtesy (adab) with God in a state of bast than in a state of qabd—and to beg or demand that God bring back a past state as you remember it is certainly the height of discourtesy, besides being impossible. Furthermore, after LSD, it is very hard to overcome the illusion that God is an experience.
SBS: The socio-historical context in which psychedelics first emerged onto the public domain is very interesting and there are probably many who even partook in the psychedelic experience without knowing the nefarious context in which their mass dissemination to the American public took place. Many individuals might be alarmed to know that the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported in 2007 that approximately 34.2 million Americans aged 12 and older (or 13.8% of the population) reported trying hallucinogens at least one time and some might argue that these numbers are quite low and underestimate the mass and widespread use.
CU: And we also need, not just to remember, but to grasp the full import of, the fact that LSD was first distributed in the United States by the CIA, partly in the context of the infamous MK-ULTRA mind-control program, which included experiments practiced upon unsuspecting American citizens that were worthy to stand beside those conducted in the Nazi death-camps (see the research of David McGowan, Henry Makow and Peter Levenda). Timothy Leary was assigned to feed acid to the intelligentsia, Ken Kesey [1935-2001] to everybody else; the idea was to compare how it acted under “controlled conditions” with its effects in a totally free-wheeling, “party” atmosphere. And the hippies actually knew about this! They said, “SURE we were a CIA experiment, man—an experiment that GOT OUT OF CONTROL!” But the fact is that LSD initiated a sort of “bardo” or revelatory decay of American culture; all the latent tendencies, good and bad, the dominant belief-systems, conscious or otherwise, were called up in a very short time, laid out for all to see—and much of the social and cultural potential of America and the Western World rapidly exhausted in the process. The family was largely destroyed (not by LSD alone of course); Christian morality (including the concept of human dignity) was undermined; political responsibility was seriously eroded. And the social engineers simply sat back and took notes. They noted the main trends, the major “cultural archetypes” operating in the “collective unconscious” of society, and devised various ways to appropriate, per vert and control every one of them; in so doing they initiated the world we live in today.
The hippies naively equated social control with a simplistic authoritarian repression; they rarely awoke to the fact that REAL control is based on co-optation, on the covert implantation of engineered beliefs and attitudes in the mass mind. The powers that be do not want heroes who courageously oppose them and die as martyrs; they would much rather find, or create, dupes who will obey their every command in the firm belief that they are following their own desires, their own creative expressions and “spiritual” intuitions, all in perfect freedom.
One other deleterious effect of psychedelics, which has clearly operated on the mass level (though not in every individual case), is that they broke down people’s protection against the surrounding psychic environment; first you “open up” too much, and then compensate by “closing down” so as to protect yourself from the painful influences emanating from your surroundings, including other people. Excess empathy ends in paranoia; the artificial breaking down of what psychologist Wilhelm Reich [1897-1957] called “character armor” often results in a worse case of such armor later on. (Perennialist Titus Burckhardt [1908-1984], in his book Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul , speaks of the close relationship between psycho-physical dissolution and psycho-physical petrification.) As Jesus put it, the demon we have exorcized wanders in waterless places until, returning to the soul from which he has been expelled and finding it swept and adorned, he brings with him seven demons more evil than himself. We probably could never have produced a society where millions spend hours a day alone before computer screens—while imagining that, via Twitter or whatever, they actually have thousands of “friends”!—if LSD hadn’t softened us up first; the isolation and excess introversion produced in part by psychedelics has effectively broken down the kind of social solidarity we need if we are to maintain our political freedoms and human rights; we are all too happy in our cubicles, or at least afraid to leave them. A friend of mine once said to me, back in the 60’s: “Acid would be great if you could have all that incredible imagery without those feelings”. Bill Gates must have heard his plea; cyberspace reproduces in many ways the hallucinatory content of psychedelics without the accompanying insights.
And now government-sponsored psychedelic research is making a comeback. Anyone tempted to become involved with it should first do some in-depth research on exactly which individuals and institutions are sponsoring, publicizing and funding such a move, as well as their background and connections (what is the Internet for, after all?). Looking back over the cultural and spiritual “scorched earth” of the psychedelic revolution in the years since the 60’s, I shudder to think what they may have in store for us now. We should never forget that the CIA likely sponsored the mass dissemination of LSD as part of their MK-ULTRA mind control program. According to Peter Levenda, William Mellon Hitchcock, who was associated with CIA front organizations Castle Bank and Trust and Resorts International, as well as being Timothy Leary’s landlord for his “psychedelic manor house” at Millbrook, paid a chemist by the name of Nicholas Sand [b. 1941] to produce millions of doses of acid. Another figure from the psychedelic underground that should be mentioned along with Sand, is his collaborator chemist Robert “Tim” Scully [b. 1944], together they produced enormous quantities of LSD known in these circles as “Orange Sunshine.”
SBS: While you have elaborated on the psychic and spiritual dangers of using psyche- delics, there are many individuals and researchers that affirm the healing potential of such substances. After a three decade hiatus there is now renewed interest in psychedelic research and they are increasingly being studied as possible adjuncts to psychotherapy for various psycho-physical ailments: treatment-resistant anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain associated with terminal and end-stage cancer, cluster headaches, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), alcohol, cocaine and heroin dependency to name a few. Could you please comment on this matter?
CU: The use of toxic pharmaceuticals and traumatic interventions is common and sometimes necessary in the practice of medicine, but these things have little or nothing to do with the Spiritual Path per se. Psychedelics—whose toxicity is by and large psychic, not physical—may have a therapeutic effect in cases of alcoholism, heroin addiction etc., but this doesn’t mean that they create no problems of their own; it’s a question of the lesser of two evils. And what may be a lesser evil in psychophysical terms may or may not be a lesser one in Spiritual terms. Our post-Christian secular society obviously does not have the final end and eternal good of the human soul on its radar screen, nor does it hold a very clear idea of human dignity or the intrinsic value of the person; abortion, for example, is not even seen by many people as the taking of human life. Our society has no concept of suffering as spiritual purgation (by which I certainly don’t mean to imply that all suffering is purifying simply because it hurts); its highest good seems to be production, consequently it tends to define healing in terms of making us “productive members of society”. There are even muted but increasingly audible suggestions that non-productive citizens ought to be euthanized; Bill Gates recently stated that a certain degree of medical care ought to be denied the elderly and diverted to the maintenance of productive workers. And now, under the “war on terror”, torture has become acceptable to us for the first time since the passage of the Bill of Rights. How can a society capable of such barbaric actions and sentiments be relied upon to accurately evaluate the effects of psychedelic drugs in either moral or spiritual terms?
Some time after granting this interview, I talked with a physician acquaintance of mine who had participated in the second round of psilocybin experiments within academia in the 1990’s; I hadn’t realized they had started up again that early. He investigated the source of the funding for the experiment he’d been part of at the University of New Mexico, and discovered that the money for the DMT research that led up to the experiments he had been involved in had been provided by the Scottish Rite Foundation for Schizophrenia Research—the Freemasons! In view of the fact that many traditional Catholics see the Second Vatican Council as a kind of Masonic coup within the Catholic Church, the apparent “coincidence” that psychedelic drugs became available to the masses at exactly the same time that traditional Roman Catholicism was being destroyed may in fact be much more than that; as René Guénon pointed out, though cyclical conditions may make the growth of the Counter-Initiation possible, the concrete manifestations of this counterfeit, Luciferian spirituality can only be brought about by actual human groups. Dr. Rama P. Coomaraswamy [1929-2006] in his essay “The Problem of Obedience”, unpublished in hardcopy but available on the web, recounts the following:
….a leading Freemason, Yves Marsoudon (State Master, Supreme Council of France, Scottish Rite) tells us: “The sense of universalism that is rampant in Rome these days is very close to our purpose of existence….With all our hearts we support the ‘Revolution of John XXIII’….” Not satisfied with this, Yves Marsoudon dedicated his book Ecumenism as Seen by a Traditionalist Freemason to the Pope in the following words: “To the Memory of Angelo Roncalli, Priest, Archbishop of Messembria, Apostolic Nuncio in Paris, Cardinal of the Roman Church, Patriarch of Venice, POPE under the name of John XXIII, WHO HAS DEIGNED TO GIVE US HIS BENEDICTION, HIS UNDERSTANDING AND HIS PROTECTION.”
And then, shortly after that conversation, I had a dream—a dream filled with flaming apocalyptic imagery which represented the glory of God. When I woke up, I realized that I was in fact being purified of the psychic residues of LSD, which I last ingested over 35 years ago. In light of this dream I began to understand in a much different light the tendency of all other spiritual states or practices to pale in comparison with the LSD experience. We may sincerely say, and believe, something on the order of: “I took LSD several times; later I practiced a Sufi dhikr for several years. Looking back on these experiences, I can now truthfully report that the LSD provided a more intense spiritual state and a greater depth of insight than did the dhikr.” In making this judgment we assume of course that we are objectively comparing two experiences from a standpoint of detachment, that the scales we are using to weigh these experiences against each other are fundamentally sound. What almost never occurs to us is that LSD may have imprinted or conditioned a deeply-buried layer of our psyche such that all subsequent experiences of any psychic or spiritual depth are filtered through this conditioning, resulting in a biased evaluation. If it is possible to have LSD “flashbacks” years after the original experience, who is to say that a subtle “hangover”, physically undetectable, or perhaps indicated by a potentially measurable “re-programming” of the brain due to the extreme intensity of psychedelic experience, may also remain in the deep psyche?
The fact that Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass [b. 1931], was told by his Hindu yoga instructors, “You have a kundalini-blockage in your vishuddha-chakra [throat center] due to your past use of psychedelics”, supports this hypothesis. It’s as if LSD can act to breach the natural barrier between Nous/Intellectus, associated with the ajña-chakra or “third eye”, and dianoia/ratio, associated with the vishuddha-chakra, thus flooding the lower rational mind with material from the higher Intellectual mind; the lower mind becomes overloaded with this higher material, now expressed on a lower level, and ends by counterfeiting the quality of the Nous/Intellectus and thus blocking access to it. Consequently, if spiritual methods practiced and spiritual states experienced after LSD seem in some sense to lie in the shadow of acid, this may simply mean that acid is still there, casting that shadow. The import of my dream was that the glory of God had arrived in order to burn out the residual psychic glamour left behind by psychedelics, and purify my soul of their ongoing influence; I attribute this event to the spiritual effect of my entry into my second Sufi order. It may in fact be the case that the use of LSD has the power to subtly damage the highest reflections of Nous/Intellectus, the “eye of the heart” [‘ayn al-qalb], in the individual psyche, just as the physical eye may be damaged by staring into the sun; the reason we almost never become aware of this damage is that it lies at a psycho-spiritual depth so great that we are rarely able to consciously return to it without once more ingesting LSD, thus compounding the damage. The use of powerful psychedelics may also produce in us a taste, or need, for deep spiritual experiences that we otherwise would never have sought out, and that may not really be proper to us, while at the same time preventing such experiences from translating us to the final station, where (in Sufi terminology) fana—spiritual annihilation—gives way to baqa—subsistence in God. Like Moses, we may be left standing on the mountain, looking down to where the Children of Israel are crossing over into the Promised Land, but eternally denied entrance into that land ourselves as punishment for the sin, while searching for water, of striking the rock twice instead of only once as our Lord commanded—in terms of spiritual realization, the sin of trying to force the hand of God. Furthermore, those who are brought so near to the mysterium tremendum while being denied the final consummation may be subject to Luciferian temptations that the rest of us will probably never encounter, chief among them being the temptation to embrace a Luciferian consummation in a counterfeit Absolute designed in the infernal regions. Anyone who succumbs to such a temptation (which will most likely be presented to him or her in the deep unconscious regions of the soul), or is even confronted with it—assuming that the victim is not able to allow God to heal the psycho-spiritual damage that makes him or her susceptible to it—may effectively be denied Union with Absolute Reality for the remainder of this life, and possibly also the next.
 British psychiatrist Humphry Fortescue Osmond (1917-2004) coined the term “psychedelic” or “mind-manifesting” via his correspondence with Aldous Huxley. In responding to a letter that Dr. Osmond received from Huxley written on 30 March, 1956 he wrote in poetic reflection: “To fathom Hell or soar angelic, / Just take a pinch of psychedelic”, thus giving birth to the term “psychedelic”, yet it was not known to the public at large or the scientific community until 1957 [Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer (eds.), Moksha: Aldous Huxley’s Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1999), p. 107]; see also Humphry Osmond, “A Review of the Clinical Effects of Psychotomimetic Agents”, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 66, No. 3 (1957), pp. 418–434. It is also relevant to point out that it was Dr. Osmond who in May of 1953 first introduced Huxley to a synthesized form of mescaline, the psychoactive compound in peyote (among other psychedelic cacti) which in turn produced his work The Doors of Perception in 1954, which according to some launched the psychedelic revolution.
 “‘Entheogen’ means simply ‘God generated within you!’” [Robert Forte, “A Conversation with R. Gordon Wasson” in Entheogens and the Future of Religion, ed. Robert Forte (San Francisco, CA: Council on Spiritual Practices, 1997), p. 69]; see also Carl A.P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson, “Entheogens” in The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, Twentieth Anniversary Edition, eds. R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann and Carl A.P. Ruck (Los Angeles, CA: Hermes Press, 1998), pp. 137-139.
 For an interesting discussion on the distinctions between the subtle and nondual states of consciousness see the following two part video with Ken Wilber (b. 1949), a pioneer within transpersonal psychology, speaking about the uses of Ayahuasca or Yajé and psychedelics in general highlighting the obstacles and dangers of their use to authentic spiritual growth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HPQgKbxIjk. After viewing the two video clips by Wilber, Charles Upon stated the following: “People do take psychedelics hoping for spiritual transformation, and a simple ‘just say no to drugs’ will not influence many of them; in view of this, Wilber did a good job of putting psychedelics in an insightful context when he said that their best use is to teach you that the most impressive visionary states and realized insights are not Absolute Reality since they all pass away; only the Atman, the Witness that witnesses them, is Absolute. This is something like the Sufi doctrine that spiritual states happen in relation to specific ego-attachments in order to burn out those attachments, after which the states in question do not return; the realized Sufi is beyond states. One difference between states based on drugs and states sent by God, however, is that drug-induced states can be psychologically habit-forming—largely because it is possible to pop the ‘same’ pill again and again, imagining you can repeat an earlier state—but it is not possible to induce God to send the same state again, seeing that Every day doth some new work employ Him (Qur’an 55:29). A massive expansion of psychic experience is in no way an unmitigated good, since it can either wear away one’s attachment to experience in favor of the Witness or veil the Witness by inflaming one’s desire for more and more experience.” With this said, Wilber should not be considered a “friend” of the perennial philosophy or the spiritual traditions themselves, nor a representative of the traditionalist or perennialist school for he has methodically undermined and attacked the integral metaphysics of the perennial philosophy, first as an insider by aligning himself with this universal orientation and then by attempting to usurp the traditions within the fold of his ever inclusive evolutionary and syncretic AQAL Model—all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states and all types. If Wilber has his way in superimposing his hegemonic integralism upon the spiritual traditions of the world, Hinduism will no longer be Hinduism but Integral Hinduism, Buddhism will no longer be Buddhism but Integral Buddhism, Christianity will no longer be Christianity but Integral Christianity, Islam will no longer be Islam but Integral Islam and so on—which is nothing less than the insurgence of Wilberianism on a totalitarian scale. Will an integral New Age spiritualty also be put on the table, as some have suggested, by the absurd notion of integral theosophy which would wed Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Ken Wilber? This could not be anything other than pseudo-spirituality at its height. Despite the fact that Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) appeared to be a “friend” of spirituality, he in reality and to the surprise of many psychologized these traditions—Wilber in a similar fashion not only supersedes but champions his forerunner—going above and beyond by Absolutizing his integralism. The fact that Wilber and his comrades of the Integral Institute cannot perceive the integral nature of each sapiential tradition in divinis calls into question their very understanding of the world’s spiritualities, yet from another perspective this speaks to the very postmodern narcissism that they have painstakingly discussed ad nauseum, a symptom that he and many of his contemporaries, strangely enough given the circumstances, have not been able to evade. That the postmodern mentality has become emaciated and is unable to perceive the inner dimension or esoterism of the “transcendent unity of religions” in no way signifies that these divinely revealed traditions need to be updated to appeal to this atrophied outlook; to do so would be a reductio ad absurdum. See José Segura, “On Ken Wilber’s Integration of Science and Religion”, Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity, Vol. 5 (Summer 2005), pp. 71-83; Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, “Book Review: Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy”, International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1 (2010), pp. 138-142; Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, “Book Review: The Return of the Perennial Philosophy”, Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity, Vol. 25 (Summer 2010), pp. 175-184.
In looking at the “four forces” of modern psychology, some might ask where does Ken Wilber’s “integral psychology”, which some are calling a “fifth force”, fit into this critique? In response, we would like to repeat that while Wilber at one time strongly identified with the integral metaphysics of the perennial philosophy he has incrementally distanced himself from this perspective and, as we have seen, has become fundamentally hostile to the perennial philosophy and even attempts to absorb it within the fold of his “integralism”. While we cannot expand here upon Ken Wilber’s relationship with the traditionalists or the perennial philosophy, we need to emphasize that when we refer to “integral psychology” it is inextricably linked to the perennial philosophy and has nothing to do with Wilber’s usage of the term. Furthermore, while some might attribute Wilber’s “Integral Movement” to Jean Gebser (1905-1973) or Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), who have both heavily influenced Wilber’s work, it needs to be said that both René Guénon and Frithjof Schuon used the epithet “integral” throughout their work long before
Wilber made it his singular trademark. In reviewing the opus of Guénon and Schuon, we find references to integral metaphysics, integral anthropology, integral knowledge, integral development, integral realization, integral individuality and even integral spirituality which are not based on individualistic speculation but on universal principles that are common to all sapiential traditions, according to the principle known as the “transcendent unity of religions”. This is relevant when recalling the fundamental influence that the traditionalists, especially Schuon, have had upon Wilber’s decisive work, The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977). While we do not wish to claim a monopoly on the usage of “integral”, we do need to mention these other potential influences upon Wilber’s work, especially since the perennial philosophy once permeated his theoretical vision. Although Wilber’s so-called integral
psychology ambitiously attempts to synthesize the best of the premodern, modern and postmodern conceptions, it remains true to none of them; it is not really “integral” in the traditional or perennialist sense but is merely a case of Wilber cloaking himself in the garb of the saints and sages of all times and places while attempting to give them a facelift. Let us conclude by affirming that nothing could be more precarious than to assume that the spiritual tradi- tions of the world need to be updated or that they need Wilber to do so.
 Traditionalist or perennialist author Whitall N. Perry (1920-2005) illustrates why psychic phenomenon are so seductive and difficult to discern for most seekers: “The confusion is between the psychic and spiritual planes of reality, where the unfamiliar, the strange, and the bizarre are mistaken for the transcendent, simply by the fact that they lie outside the ordinary modes of consciousness.” [Whitall N. Perry, “Drug-Induced Mysticism: The Mescalin Hypothesis” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), p. 10]. Readers will notice that the tittle of this interview references Perry’s pioneering article that was first published nearly sixty years ago and yet its thesis still holds strong and debunks many predominant errors. It is for this reason that we have chosen to mention it and we are grateful to the author for its appearance.
 Huston Smith, “Encountering God” in The Way Things Are: Conversations with Huston Smith on the Spiritual Life, ed. Phil Cousineau (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2003), p. 97; “Counterfeit spirituality, instead, will place emphasis on impressionistic experience, on the subjective pole of mystical endeavor, practically to the near-total or even total exclusion of the objective pole, and derives its motive force—and abusively personal justification—in heightened emotionalism or vagrant intuitionalism, or even in altered states of consciousness.” [Mark Perry, “The Forbidden Door” in Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man, ed. Barry McDonald (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2002), p. 239]; see also René Guénon, “The Great Parody: or Spirituality Inverted” in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. Lord Northbourne (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 267-274.
 We recall the unequivocal words of Frithjof Schuon: “there is no possible spiritual way outside the great orthodox traditional ways. A meditation or concentration practiced at random and outside of tradition will be inoperative, and even dangerous in more than one respect; the illusion of progress in the absence of real criteria is certainly not the least of these dangers.” [Quoted in Whitall N. Perry, “Drug-Induced Mysticism: The Mescalin Hypothesis” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), pp. 15-16]; “To be precise: there is no spiritual path outside the following traditions or religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism; but Hinduism is closed for those who have not been born into a Hindu caste, and Taoism is inaccessible” [Titus Burckhardt, “A Letter on Spiritual Method” in Mirror of the Intellect: Essays on Traditional Science and Sacred Art, trans. and ed. William Stoddart (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1987), p. 251]
 See Lee Penn, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004)
 “In 1965 a research team from Germany published a paper in the flagship British science journal Nature announcing that they had isolated DMT from human blood. In 1972 Nobel-prize winning scientist Julius Axelrod of the U.S. National Institutes of Health reported finding it in human brain tissue. Additional research showed that DMT could also be found in the human urine and the cerebrospinal fluid bathing the brain. It was not long before scientists discovered the pathways, similar to those in lower animals, by which the human body made DMT. DMT thus became the first endogenous human psychedelic.” [Rick Strassman, “What DMT Is” in DMT: The Spirit Molecule (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2001), p. 48]; See also James Oroc, “5-MeO-DMT: Science, Discovery, and the History of Human Use” in Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2009), pp. 19-38.
 The following provides a Traditionalist perspective regarding this point, “If drugs could change and transform consciousness, it is certain that this knowledge would have been incorporated into spiritual teachings from time immemorial. On the other hand, intoxicants and drugs have served universally as supports adjacent to ritual practices, even where the use is purely symbolic” [Whitall N. Perry, “Drug-Induced Mysticism: The Mescalin Hypothesis” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), p. 15]
 Barbara G. Myerhoff, Peyote Hunt: The Sacred Journey of the Huichol Indians (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983); Antonin Artaud, The Peyote Dance, trans. Helen Weaver (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976); Edward F. Anderson, Peyote: The Divine Cactus (Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press, 1994)
 Eduardo Calderón, Richard Cowan, Douglas Sharon and F. Kaye Sharon, Eduardo el Curandero: The Words of a Peruvian Healer (Richmond, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1982)
 “[Question:] So your view is that hallucinogens were involved in the origin of some religious traditions but not necessarily all.” “[Peter T. Furst:] No, I think that’s also going too far. The use of the so-called ‘hallucinogens’ is a function of religion, not its origin.” [Peter T. Furst, “Ancient Altered States” in Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob (eds.) Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2005), p. 156]; see also Peter T. Furst (ed.), Flesh of the Gods: The Ritual Use of Hallucinogens (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974); Peter T. Furst, Hallucinogens and Culture (San Francisco, CA: Chandler & Sharp Publishers, 1979); R. Gordon Wasson, Stella Kramrisch, Jonathan Ott and Carl A.P. Ruck, Persephone’s Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986); Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hofmann, Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1992); Jonathan Ott, Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History (Kennewick, WA: Natural Products, 1993); Peter Stafford, Psychedelics Encyclopedia, Third Expanded Edition (Berkeley, CA: Ronin Publishing, 1992); Marlene Dobkin de Rios, Hallucinogens: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1996); Aldous Huxley, “The History of Tension” in Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer (eds.), Moksha: Aldous Huxley’s Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1999), pp. 117-128; Sidney Cohen, The Beyond Within: The LSD Story (New York: Atheneum, 1972); Jeremy Narby, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1999); Andrew Weil, The Natural Mind: An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1986); Andrew Weil, The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon: A Quest for Unity in Consciousness (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1980); Daniel Pinchbeck, Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (New York: Broadway Books, 2003)
 R. Gordon Wasson, Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1969). The Wasson hypothesis has been critiqued from within psychedelic circles: this from one of its most prominent voices, Terence McKenna: “The problem with this hypothesis is that A. muscaria is not a reliable visionary hallucinogen. It has proven difficult to obtain a consistently ecstatic intoxication from Amanita muscaria. Wasson was on the right track, correctly recognizing the potential of Amanita muscaria to induce religious feeling and ecstasy, but he did not take into account the imagination and linguistic stimulation imparted by the input of African psilocybin-containing mushrooms into the evolution of Old World mycolatry.” [Terence McKenna, “Mushrooms and Evolution” in The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 150]; See also Thomas J. Riedlinger (ed.), The Sacred Mushroom Seeker: Tributes to R. Gordon Wasson (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1990); Peter Lamborn Wilson, Ploughing the Clouds: The Search for Irish Soma (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1999)
 R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann and Carl A.P. Ruck (eds.), The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, Twentieth Anniversary Edition (Los Angeles, CA: Hermes Press, 1998). Some researchers assert that both Kykeon and psychedelic mushrooms (Amanita muscaria and psilocybin) were used interchangeably in the rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries, see Carl A.P. Ruck, Sacred Mushrooms of the Goddess: Secrets of Eleusis (Oakland, CA: Ronin Publishing, 2006)
 Dan Merkur, “Manna, the Showbread, and the Eucharist: Psychoactive Sacraments in the Bible” in Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion, ed. Thomas B. Roberts (San Francisco, CA: Council on Spiritual Practices, 2001), pp. 139-144; See also Dan Merkur, The Mystery of Manna: The Psychedelic Sacrament of the Bible (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2000)
 Carl A.P. Ruck, Mark Alwin Hoffman and José Alfredo González Celdrán, Mushrooms, Myth and Mithras: The Drug Cult that Civilized Europe (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 2011)
 Andrija Puharich, The Sacred Mushroom: Key to the Door of Eternity (Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1959)
 John Marco Allegro, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity Within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East (New York: Bantam Books, 1971); See also Jan R. Irvin with Jack Herer, The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity (Riverside, CA: Gnostic Media, 2008); John A. Rush, Failed God: Fractured Myth in a Fragile World (Berkeley, CA: Frog Books, 2008); John A. Rush, The Mushroom in Christian Art: The Identity of Jesus in the Development of Christianity (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2011); Carl A.P. Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples and Clark Heinrich, The Apples of Apollo: Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2001); Carl A.P. Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples, José Alfredo González Celdrán and Mark Alwin Hoffman, The Hidden World: Survival of Pagan Shamanic Themes in European Fairytales (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2007)
 Peter T. Furst, “Ancient Altered States” in Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob (eds.) Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2005), p. 153. Some psychedelic researchers regard the rock art found in the mountain range of Tassili n’Ajjer southeast Algeria to be the most ancient verification of psychedelic use.
 René Guénon, “Some Remarks on the Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles” in Traditional Forms and Cosmic Cycles, trans. Henry D. Fohr, ed. Samuel D. Fohr (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 1-12; Charles Upton, Legends of the End: Prophecies of the End Times, Antichrist, Apocalypse, and Messiah from Eight Religious Traditions (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004); Charles Upton, “Comparative Eschatology” in The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 424-479.
 Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1974), p. 401. While it has been indicated that Eliade shifted his position with regards to psychedelics at the end of his life as noted by anthropologist Peter Furst: “[entheogens] forced him to change his mind on this issue, and…to accept that there was no essential difference between ecstasy achieved by plant hallucinogens and that obtained by other archaic techniques.” [Paul Devereux, The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), p. 108]. We would still argue that his initial assessment makes an important point in light of cyclical time which all traditional societies throughout the world adhered to and still to this day recognize; Karl Kerényi (1897-1973) noted Hungarian mythologist and professor of classics and the history of religion agrees with Eliade’s initial position: “For a time, an artificially induced experience of transcendence in nature was able to replace the original experience. In the history of religions, periods of ‘strong medicine’ [entheogens] usually occur when the simpler methods no longer suffice. This development may be observed among the North American Indians. Originally mere fasting sufficed to induce visions. It was only in the decadent period of [North American] Indian culture that recourse was taken to peyotl, or mescalin. Earlier it was unnecessary. This powerful drug had not always been an element in the style of [North American] Indian life, but it helped to maintain this style.” [Karl Kerényi, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, trans. Ralph Manheim (New Jersey, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 26]; “In fact, there is reason to believe that much, not all, but much of this [psychedelic using] culture constitutes more of a degeneracy when compared with the possibility of what one will call golden age spirituality where a man was his own priest and carried Heaven’s Law directly and naturally within himself and had access, through his intellect, to divine and earthly wisdom. Immanence of divine wisdom is the human norm.” [Mark Perry, “The Forbidden Door” in Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man, ed. Barry McDonald (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2002), p. 271]; See also Peter T. Furst, “Introduction: An Overview of Shamanism” in Ancient Traditions: Shamanism in Central Asia and the Americas, eds. Gary Seaman and Jane S. Day (Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1994), pp. 1-28.
 In this context we might also mention Prem Baba or Janderson Fernandes de Oliveira (b. 1965), a psychologist by training, also considered to be a spiritual master—combining the role of guru and shaman. Prem Baba is a disciple of Sri Hans Raj Maharajji, also known as Sri Sachcha Baba Maharajji (b. 1924) and teaches a method that he calls O Caminho do Coração or the “Path to the Heart” and refers to himself as follows: “I am an eclectic centre of universal light”. Prem Baba asserts that he is an enlightened master and began his school Sachcha Mission Ashram located in São Paulo, Brazil. What interests us is that Prem Baba was not only a former member of the syncretic church Santo Daime but also a former disciple of the controversial figure Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or Osho (1931-1990), known as the “sex guru”, is a prototypical representative of all that constitutes as “New Age” spirituality who amassed a syncretism par excellence of everything under the sun in his spiritual toolbox. or It is seldom mentioned that Rajneesh was said to be addicted to a certain mind-altering substance known as “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide (N20). He is reported to have dictated three books—Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1985), Notes of a Madman (1985) and Books I have Loved (1985)—under its the influence of his very own dentist’s chair; however there is one title that has not yet seen the light of day for obvious reasons: Bhagwan: the first Buddha in the Dental Chair. That Prem Baba attempts to blend the use of Ayauasca or Yajé with Hindu dharma, as well as other techniques to including a mélange of modern therapies, speaks loud and clear to the signs of the times. We cannot be too weary of such ad hoc approaches which are more and more the norm in this spiritually atrophied epoch. See also Robert Forte (ed.), Entheogens and the Future of Religion (San Francisco, CA: Council on Spiritual Practices, 1997); Allan Hunt Badiner and Alex Grey (eds.), Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2002); Charles T. Tart, “Influences of Previous Psychedelic Drug Experiences on Students of Tibetan Buddhism: A Preliminary Exploration”, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 2 (1991), pp. 139–173; Myron J. Stolaroff, “Are Psychedelics Useful in the Practice of Buddhism?”, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 39, No. 1 (1999), pp. 60-80; see also the special issue “Buddhism and Psychedelics”, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. VI, No. 1 (Fall 1996)
 Michael Oren Fitzgerald, “Rainbow” and “Notes” in Yellowtail, Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief: An Autobiography (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994), pp. 56-57, 221; See also Fred W. Voget, The Shoshoni-Crow Sun Dance (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984), p. 169. Frank Fools Crow (1890-1989), a Lakota (Sioux) spiritual leader, yuwipi medicine man, and the nephew of Black Elk or Hehaka Sapa (1863-1950) the Lakota Sioux sage, made the following declaration regarding the use of peyote: “I have not…used peyote like they do in the Native American Church. Wakan-Tanka can take me higher than any drug ever could.” [Thomas E. Mails, “Little Hollow Bones” in Fools Crow: Wisdom and Power (San Francisco, CA: Council Oak Books, 2001), p. 40]; Lame Deer (1903-1976), Sioux medicine man underscores the incompatibility of peyote use with the sacred rites of the Oglala Sioux: “I have my hands full just clinging to our old Sioux ways—singing the ancient songs correctly, conducting a sweat-lodge ceremony as it should be, making our old beliefs as pure, as clear and true as I possibly can, making them stay alive, saving them from extinction. This is a big enough task for an old man. So I cannot be a yuwipi, a true Lakota medicine man, and take peyote at the same time.” [John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes, “Don’t Hurt the Trees” in Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), p. 228]
 In regards to Santo Daime, we need to mention another central figure, Sebastião Mota de Melo, better known as Padrinho Sebastião (1920-1990), one of the direct disciples of Mestre Irineu who founded The Eclectic Center of the Fluent Universal Light of Raimundo Irineu Serra (CEFLURIS) the two communities Colônia Cinco Mil (Colony Five Thousand) and Céu do Mapiá; the second is considered to be the church’s headquarters, yet both are located in Brazil. See Alex Polari de Alverga, Forest of Visions: Ayahuasca, Amazonian Spirituality, and the Santo Dime Tradition, trans. Rosana Workman, ed. Stephen Larsen (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1999); Alex Polari de Alverga, The Religion of Ayahuasca: The Teachings of the Church of Santo Daime, trans. Rosana Workman, ed. Stephen Larsen (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2010).
 See Beatriz Caiuby Labate and Henrik Jungaberle (eds.), The Internationalization of Ayahuasca (Zürich: Lit Verlag, 2011); Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Isabel Santana de Rose and Rafael Guimaraes dos Santos, Ayahuasca Religions: A Comprehensive Bibliography & Critical Essays, trans. Matthew Meyer (Ben Lomond, CA: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 2008)
 Marlene Dobkin de Rios, “Drug Tourism in the Amazon”, Anthropology of Consciousness, Vol. 5, No. 1 (1994), pp. 16-19; One can perceive the tumultuous effects of this quest for altered states of consciousness in the lamenting words of María Sabina (1894-1985), the contemporary Mexican shaman from Huautla de Jiménez of Oaxaca: “Before Wasson, I felt that the saint children elevated me. I don’t feel like that anymore. The force has diminished. If Cayetano hadn’t brought the foreigners…the saint children would have kept their power…From the moment the foreigners arrived, the saint children lost their purity. They lost their force; the foreigners spoiled them. From now on they won’t be any good. There’s no remedy for it.” [R. Gordon Wasson, “A Retrospective Essay” in Álvaro Estrada, María Sabina: Her Life and Chants, trans. Henry Munn (Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson, 1981), p. 20]; Michael Winkelman, “Drug Tourism or Spiritual Healing? Ayahuasca Seekers in Amazonia”, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2005), pp. 209-218; Marlene Dobkin de Rios and Róger Rumrrill, “Drug Tourism” in A Hallucinogenic Tea, Laced with Controversy: Ayahuasca in the Amazon and the United States (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008), pp. 69-86; Kenneth W. Tupper, “Ayahuasca Healing Beyond the Amazon: The Globalization of a Traditional Indigenous Entheogenic Practice”, Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2009), pp. 117-136; Marlene Dobkin de Rios “Psychedelics and Drug Tourism” in The Psychedelic Journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios: 45 Years with Shamans, Ayahuasqueros, and Ethnobotanists (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2009), pp. 166-169. See also R. Gordon Wasson, “Seeking the Magic Mushroom”, Life, May 13, 1957, pp. 101-120; William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, The Yage Letters (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1975); Terence McKenna, True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise (New York: HarperCollins, 1994); Susana Valadez, “Guided Tour Spirituality: Cosmic Way or Cosmic Rip-off?”, Shaman’s Drum, No. 6 (1986), pp. 4-6; We might add on a final note that even though New Age representatives such as Deepak Chopra (b. 1946), who reports that he had his first “spiritual experience” when he was seventeen years old through ingesting LSD, warns against recreational uses of psychedelics he nonetheless indiscriminately advises seekers eliciting such experiences to find an authentic traditional shaman in South America who will provide guidance on the use of these sacred plants. However, he says nothing about how this is to be accomplished nor does he warn against the many obstacles in finding such a traditional guide; furthermore he says nothing about the potential psychological dangers even if such an individual was to be found. See the following video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C23pzvs2ERI; Chopra is a former disciple of the controversial figure Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1914-2008), founder of the secular technique of Transcendental Meditation; see also Charles Upton, “Having It vs. Eating It: The Entrepreneurial Hinduism of Deepak Chopra” in The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 267-284; Rama P. Coomaraswamy, “The Desacralization of Hinduism for Western Consumption”, Sophia: The Journal of Traditional Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Winter 1998), pp. 194-219.
 “If the Indians can consume peyote without harmful results, the question of their own heritage—psychic and spiritual, and the concomitant ritual conditions are essential factors to be considered.” [Whitall N. Perry, “Drug-Induced Mysticism: The Mescalin Hypothesis” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), p. 15]. “One might counter that there are cultures, the Amazonian Indian tribes notably, in which ritualized drug use is a normal mode of communion with the divine. However, this fact calls for two comments that should apply to similar cultures. First, because of destiny, the psychic homogeneity of such peoples combined with the consistency of their shamanic cosmology, cannot be compared with the porous psychic heterogeneity of Westerners. Thus, if under the guidance of a shaman, an Amazonian Indian can enter into communion in a predictably consistent manner with a spirit animal which will act as a teacher and a guide, the same result cannot be necessarily expected for a Westerner intent on duplicating the experience. Secondly, the prevalence of such ritualized psychism…does not constitute a superiority per se.” [Mark Perry, “The Forbidden Door” in Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man, ed. Barry McDonald (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2002), pp. 270-271]
 René Guénon, “Shamanism and Sorcery” in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. Lord Northbourne (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 177-184.
 Charles Upton, Cracks in the Great Wall: The UFO Phenomenon and Traditional Metaphysics (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2005). See also Charles Upton, “UFOs and Traditional Metaphysics: A Postmodern Demonology” in The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 325-386.
 Terence McKenna, The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (New York: HarperCollins, 1991); Rick Strassman, DMT: The Spirit Molecule (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2001); Rick Strassman, Slawer Wojtowicz, Luis Eduardo Luna and Ede Frecska, Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2008); Stanislav Grof, “UFOs in the Amazon: Alien Encounter of the Third Kind” in When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Realities (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2006), pp. 271-274
 See René Guénon, “Pseudo-Initiation” in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. Lord Northbourne (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 241-251.
 On a side note, we might mention here that as Hubbard was a disciple of Crowley, and the fact that Hubbard influenced the field of transpersonal psychology, known in modern psychology as the “fourth force”, this brings to light its unfortunate inclusion of New Age thought which has not been sufficiently explored. “The crystallization and consolidation of the originally isolated tendencies into a new movement, or Fourth Force, in psychology was primarily the work of two men—Anthony Sutich and Abraham Maslow—both of whom had earlier played an important role in the history of humanistic psychology. Although transpersonal psychology was not established as a distinct discipline until the late 1960s, transpersonal trends in psychology had preceded it by several decades. The most important representatives of this orientation have been Carl Gustav Jung, Roberto Assagioli, and Abraham Maslow. Also the most interesting and controversial systems of dianetics and scientology developed by [L.] Ron Hubbard (1950) outside of the professional circles should be mentioned in this context.” [Stanislav Grof, “Psychotherapies with Transpersonal Orientation” in Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1985), p. 187]; see also Stanislav Grof, Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2000), p. 130; Whitall N. Perry, “On Cults of Unreason” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), pp. 59-60; Bent Corydon, “L. Ron and the Beast” in L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? (Fort Lee: NJ: Barricade Books, 1992), pp. 50-61; Russell Miller, “Black Magic and Betty” in Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1988), pp. 112-130. It should also be noted that Timothy Leary too was an Aleister Crowley enthusiast and that Aldous Huxley is reported to have dined with Crowley in Berlin in the Fall of 1930. Some even suggest that it was Aleister Crowley rather than Humphry Osmond who introduced Huxley to mescaline.
 For a further discussion of this topic see, “UFOs, Mass Mind-Control, and the Awliya al-Shaytan” available online at:http://www.sophiaperennis.com/uncategorized/ufos-mass-mind-control-and-the-awliya-al-shaytan-by-charles-upton-an-update-of-cracks-in-the-great-wall-ufos-and-traditional-metaphysics-sophia-perennis-2005
 See Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert, The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (New York: Citadel Press, 1990)
 Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Signs of the Unseen: The Discourses of Jelaluddin Rumi, trans. W.M. Thackston, Jr. (Putney, VT: Threshold Books, 1994), p. 77.
 See Charles Upton, “The Postmodern Traveler: Don Carlos Castaneda” in The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 201-221; Richard de Mille, Castaneda’s Journey: The Power and the Allegory (Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 1976); Amy Wallace, Sorcerer’s Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda (Berkeley, CA: Frog, 2003)
 Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness (New York: Vintage, 1965), p. 26. (Please note that this quote is not found in the original 1962 edition)
 Interestingly enough, James Fadiman (b. 1939), a pioneer within both humanistic and transpersonal psychology and cofounder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP), worked at the VA hospital in Palo Alto, California in a program that was administering psychedelics and researching their behavioral effects on veterans. In 1965 Fadiman completed his doctoral dissertation at Stanford University on this research, which was entitled: “Behavioral Change Following (LSD) Psychedelic Therapy.” “In the shadows, the CIA had tried to use these [psychedelics] substances to confuse and terrify people. Through front organizations, the CIA also sponsored small conferences and publications where therapists and researchers shared their findings.” [James Fadiman, “Therapeutic Effectiveness of Single Guided Sessions” in The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2011), p. 104]. In response to the above citation, Charles Upton notes: “The idea that the CIA wanted to use psychedelics to “confuse and terrify” people is true as far as it goes, but they also apparently hoped that these substances could help their own agents gain magic powers: telepathy, remote viewing, etc. And they were entirely willing to confuse and delight people if that would serve their ends. The hippy myth that the CIA were a bunch of uptight straight people who “couldn’t hold their acid” and saw it only as a crazy-making pill needs to be permanently debunked. The Bohemian/magician/secret agent is a well-known type; both occultist John Dee [1527-1608/1609] (the original 007) and Satanist Aleister Crowley worked for British Intelligence. The ultimate goal of the powers-that-be in terms of psychedelic research may be to create a type of “spirituality” where even mystical experiences that are valid on a certain level will serve to establish their control. They want to own everything—even mysticism, even spiritual aspiration, even God.” See also Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (New York: Grove Press, 1987); Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond (New York: Grove Press, 1992); Richard B. Spence, Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2008)
 It is useful to recall that Adi Da or Franklin Albert Jones (1939-2008), who Ken Wilber regarded as the “the greatest living Realizer”, this being only one of a host of other extraordinary endorsements offered by Wilber in his praise, and who considered himself the first and last seventh stage Adept above all other saints and sages of the perennial philosophy, was, interestingly enough, a scientologist before becoming the first American Avatar. It is widely known that Adi Da has had a tremendous influence upon Wilber’s work and that of quite a few others within the general humanistic and transpersonal orientation, many of whom prefer to be anonymous disciples from afar in order to escape the numerous controversies and criticism surrounding Adi Da. In light of this, it would be interesting to inquire into how many ideas Wilber has contributed to both humanistic and transpersonal psychology which are borrowed from Adi Da; one might even wonder if Wilber’s Integral Movement itself is more or less a product of Adi Da’s teaching. The following excerpt, is taken from Adi Da’s spiritual biography which has subsequently gone through numerous revisions, provides much food for thought on the government’s role in engineering not only the counter-culture at large but New Age spirituality as well: “I voluntarily submitted to drug trials at the Veterans Administration hospital in Palo Alto, California…. At the VA hospital, I was given a dose of drugs one day per week…. I was told that I would be given mescalin, LSD, or psilocybin at three separate sessions, and, during a fourth session, some combination of these…. There were also various bizarre experiences and periods of anxiety…I suffered mild anxiety attacks and occasional nervousness for perhaps a year beyond the actual tests…. I had become conscious of the formal structure of the living human being, associated with…the ‘chakra body’. The Kundalini Shakti was spontaneously Aroused in me…” [Adi Da Samraj, The Knee of Listening: The Divine Ordeal of the Avataric Incarnation of Conscious Light (Middletown, CA: The Dawn Horse Press, 2004), pp. 81-83]; While we do not want to overstep our inquiry by making any hasty assumptions or enter into polemics, it would be worth mentioning that Adi Da considers Adidam to be a new revelation or religion as can been seen in the title of the following work: Adidam: The True World-Religion Given by the Promised God-Man, Adi Da Samraj (Middletown, CA: The Dawn Horse Press, 2003). However, we are reminded of the traditional position regarding this possibility in the current phase of the Kali-Yuga: “…after a certain period, whatever is put forward as a new religion is inevitably false; the Middle Ages mark grosso modo the final limit.” [Frithjof Schuon, “The Quran” in Understanding Islam, trans. D.M. Matheson (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 1998), p. 47], including: “[T]he cyclic moment for the manifestation of the great perspectives (darshanas) is past; readaptations—in the sense of a legitimate and therefore adequate and efficacious synthesis—are always possible, but not the manifestations of perspectives that are fundamental and ‘new’ as to their form.” [Frithjof Schuon, “Orthodoxy and Intellectuality” in Stations of Wisdom (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom Books, 1995), p. 5]. The following is a declaration of Ken Wilber’s enthusiastic endorsement for Adi Da: “[M]y opinion is that we have, in the person of Da Free John [Adi Da], a Spiritual Master and religious genius of the ultimate degree…Da Free John’s [Adi Da’s] teaching is, I believe, unsurpassed by that of any other spiritual Hero, of any period, of any place, of any time, of any persuasion.” [Ken Wilber, “Forward: ‘On Heroes and Cults’” to Da Free John, Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Soon Be Announced by the White House! (Middletown, CA: The Dawn Horse Press, 1980), p. 6]; see also Franklin Jones, “The Problem of the Mind, and the Year of Waiting for Grace” in The Knee of Listening: The Early Life and Radical Spiritual Teachings of Franklin Jones (Los Angeles, CA: The Dawn Horse Press, 1973), pp. 83-87; Bubba Free John, Garbage and the Goddess: The Last Miracles and Final Spiritual Instructions of Bubba Free John, eds. Sandy Bonder and Terry Patten (Lower Lake, CA: Dawn Horse Press, 1974); Ken Wilber, “The One Who Was To Come Is Always Already Here”: A Short Appreciation of the Teaching of Bubba Free John”, Vision Mound Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 9 (May 1979), pp. 28-29; Ken Wilber, “The Case of Adi Da” (October 11, 1996), available on the Shambhala website: http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/misc/adida.cfm/; Ken Wilber, “An Update on the Case of Adi Da” (August 28, 1998), available on the Shambhala website: http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/misc/adida_update.cfm/; Georg Feuerstein, “The Many Faces of Da Love-Ananda (Da Free John)” in Holy Madness: The Shock Tactics and Radical Teachings of Crazy-Wise Adepts, Holy Fools, and Rascal Gurus (New York: Paragon House, 1991), pp. 80-100; Harry Oldmeadow, “Easter Teachings, Western Teachers, 1950-2000” in Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Traditions (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2004), pp. 276-277.
 Peter Levenda, Sinister Forces—A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft: A Warm Gun (Waterville, OR: TrineDay, 2006), p. 317); See also Art Kleps, Millbrook: The True Story of the Early Years of the Psychedelic Revolution (Oakland, CA: Bench Press, 1977); Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain, “Preaching LSD” in Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond (New York: Grove Press, 1992), pp. 97-100; Stanley Krippner, “Music to Eat Mushrooms By” in Song of the Siren: A Parapsychological Odyssey (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), pp. 19-45.
 For some examples see John C. Lilly, The Scientist: A Novel Autobiography (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1978); Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1997); Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968); Wade Davis, “The Red Hotel” in One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest (New York: Touchstone, 1997), pp. 151-152; Terence McKenna, True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise (New York: HarperCollins, 1994); Terence McKenna and Dennis McKenna, “Psychological Reflections on La Chorrera” in The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), pp. 109-117; Laurent Weichberger (ed.), A Mirage Will Never Quench Your Thirst: A Source of Wisdom About Drugs (North Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Foundation, 2003); Charles Hayes (ed.), Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures (New York: Penguin Books, 2000)
 William Griffith Wilson, more commonly known as Bill Wilson (1895-1971), the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) was convinced of the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, especially LSD with alcoholism. It is reported that Gerald Heard (1889-1971), close friend and colleague of Aldous Huxley, in 1956 guided Bill Wilson on an LSD session which had profound and lasting impact on his life. Interesting to note that like Huxley it was Dr. Osmond who first drew Wilson’s attention to psychedelics. See also ‘Pass It On’: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1984); Betty Eisner, “The Birth and Death of Psychedelic Therapy” in Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob (eds.), Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2005), pp. 93-94.
 Harris Friedman, “The Renewal of Psychedelic Research: Implications for Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology”, The Humanistic Psychologist, Vol. 34, No. 1 (2006), pp. 39-58; W.V. Caldwell, LSD Psychotherapy: An Exploration of Psychedelic and Psycholytic Therapy (New York: Grove Press, 1968); Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar, Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered (New York: Basic Books, 1979); Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar, “Can Drugs Be Used to Enhance the Psychotherapeutic Process?”, American Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. 40, No. 3 (1986), pp. 393-404; Rick Strassman, “Hallucinogenic Drugs in Psychiatric Research and Treatment: Perspectives and Prospects”, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol. 183, No. 3 (1995), pp. 175-186; Gary Bravo and Charles Grob, “Psychedelic Therapy” in Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology, eds. Bruce W. Scotton, Allan B. Chinen and John R. Battista (New York: BasicBooks, 1996), pp. 335-343; Myron J. Stolaroff, The Secret Chief: Conversations with a Pioneer of the Underground Psychedelic Therapy Movement (Charlotte, NC: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 1997); Rick Doblin, “A Clinical Plan for MDMA (Ecstasy) in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Partnering with the FDA”, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 34 (2002), pp. 185-194; Marilyn Howell, Honor Thy Daughter (Santa Cruz, CA: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 2011); J.B. Hittner and S.B. Quello, “Combating Substance Abuse with Ibogaine: Pre- and Posttreatment Recommendations and An Example of Successive Model Fitting Analysis”, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 36, No. 2 (2004), pp. 191-199; Jeffrey J. Kripal, “Mind Manifest: Psychedelia at Early Esalen and Beyond” in Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2007), pp. 112-134; Francisco A. Moreno, Christopher B. Wiegand, E. Keolani Taitano, and Pedro L. Delgado, “Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Psilocybin in 9 Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Vol. 67, No. 11 (2006), pp. 1735-1740; A.C. Parrott, “The Psychotherapeutic Potential of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine): An Evidence-Based Review”, Psychopharmacology, Vol. 191 (2007), pp. 181-193; Michael J. Winkelman and Thomas B. Roberts (eds.), Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances as Treatments, Vol. 1 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007); Michael J. Winkelman and Thomas B. Roberts (eds.), Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances as Treatments, Vol. 2 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007); M.W. Johnson, W.A. Richards and R.R Griffiths, “Human Hallucinogen Research: Guidelines for Safety”, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol. 22, No. 6 (2008), pp. 603-620; P.Ø. Johansen and T.S. Krebs, “How Could MDMA (Ecstasy) Help Anxiety Disorders? A Neurobiological Rationale”, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol. 23, No. 4 (2009), pp. 389-391; Michael C. Mithoefer, Mark T. Wagner, Ann T. Mithoefer, Lisa Jerome and Rick Doblin, “The Safety and Efficacy of ±3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine-Assisted Psychotherapy in Subjects with Chronic, Treatment-Resistant Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: The First Randomized Controlled Pilot Study”, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol. 25, No. 4 (2011), pp. 439-452.
 “A grant from a branch of the Masons, the Scottish Rite Foundation for Schizophrenia Research, helped establish the merit of my study a year before I actually began it. Why the Masons had an interest in schizophrenia in general, and DMT in particular, I do not know, but I believe that garnering such support enhanced the esteem of my study in the eyes of the relevant regulatory and funding agencies.” [Rick Strassman, “DMT: The Brain’s Own Psychedelic” in Rick Strassman, Slawer Wojtowicz, Luis Eduardo Luna and Ede Frecska, Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2008), p. 48]; “Curiously, another MKULTRA faction consisted of representatives of the Scottish Rite of Masonry, which had sponsored research into eugenics, psychiatry, and mind control since at least the 1930s. MKULTRA doctor Robert Hanna Felix [1904-1990] was director of psychiatric research for the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and the director of the National Institute of Mental Health. Felix was the immediate senior of Dr. Harris Isbell, already noted in relation to MKULTRA. Another prominent Freemason involved in MKULTRA was Dr. Paul Hoch [1902-1964], financed by the Army Chemical Center.” [Jim Keith, “The CIA and Control” in Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2003), p. 65]. Another interesting figure to be mentioned in this discussion is Andrija Puharich, also known as Henry K. Puharich (1918-1995), who was well-known for his work in parapsychology and affiliated with many influential members of the counter-culture and was also intimately involved with “The Council of Nine” or “The Nine”, a New Age channeling cult. “After the demise of Puharich’s Round Table [Foundation, located in Glen Cove, Maine] he spent time with social engineer Aldous Huxley in Tecate, Mexico, again studying the effects of electronics on the human organism. Puharich was also employed at the Army’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Center at Fort Detrick, Maryland, researching the effects of LSD for the CIA in 1954. He delved into the effects of digatoid drugs at the Permanente Research Foundation, with funding from the Sandoz Chemical Works.” [Jim Keith, “Electronic Mind Control” in Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2003), p. 176]; See also H.P. Albarelli, Jr., “Notes” in A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIAs Secret Cold War Experiments (Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2009), p. 792. For an interesting book on “The Council of Nine” see Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy: The Truth about Extraterrestrial life and the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt (New York: Berkley Books, 2001)
There was once a 60’s rock band named Question Mark and the Mysterians. The famous conspiracy blogger of today known as QAnon, or just Q, is Question Mark, the perfect personification of the contemporary paranoid conspiracy culture. He is the Deep Throat of Cyberspace, Loki, Coyote, the Joker, the Riddler, the omnipotent imp “Q” of the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series. He is the universal Trickster of our contemporary world of weaponized information. He is in the loop, he is in the know, he is the quintessential Insider, the absolute Whistleblower, the ultimate Mole. He sits at the same table with the Bilderbergers, the Freemasons, the Zionist Conspiracy, the CIA, MI6, Russian Intelligence, the Drug Cartels, the Deep State, the Global Elites, Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump. He has microphones in the Pentagon and bugs in the Vatican. He caters, records and photographs the midnight Luciferian revels of the transnational elites at Bohemian Grove. He is the answer to every mystery, the final secret at the darkest center of every conspiracy, the perfectly-contrived mirror reflecting all our deepest fears and desires, all the secret wishes and terrors of anyone dedicated to beating the Great Cryptocracy at its own game, of anyone who will sell his soul to find out. And his purpose? His purpose is to undermine and destroy valid, objective research by turning everything into suggestion and innuendo and synchronicity and symbolism and secret code. He is the great Misdirector of Attention who sends all us mystery-hounds down 600 blind alleys every week, along with 60 half-valid alleys and 6 actually true ones, just to make sure we keep digging 300 wells and sinking 300 exploratory shafts every seven days, until we are thoroughly inflamed, pulverized and burnt out. Information is not so much hidden by encryption and censorship and threat of abduction and assassination in our time (though all of these tools can still be used whenever the need arises) as by obscuring it with information-overload, by building a haystack around every needle. Did we ever dream that in some imaginary, perfect world the Cryptocracy would finally be forced to come clean and spill the beans, all of them? Q is that very dream seemingly come true, the great inverted psychopomp who is here to steer dedicated researchers in false directions, to convince fools that they are now privy to all the secrets, and to darken the minds of those who become addicted to the drug he offers, the drug by which true qualitative, meaningful knowledge is rendered quantitative, barren and meaningless, the drug called Knowledge-Without-a-Center. If one of the great mind-control techniques is “deferred closure”—the process of endlessly feeding us tantalizing clues, some of them mutually-corroborating and some of them contradictory, to a picture that can never be complete, until we finally break down and settle for a self-created delusion to satisfy our desperate need for closure—then Q is deferred closure on steroids.
When, as a society, we believed in God, when we knew He was omniscient, that not a sparrow falls without His knowledge, then we could rest content in the faith that everything that needed to be known was known—in Him. But the human race has rejected God now, debunked Him, killed Him; we have done this because we have hankered to take His place, to assume every one of His functions and prove that we can fulfill them better than He ever could. We wanted not just His omnipotence but His omniscience—because knowledge is power. We wanted to know everything. And so now Q, who is also the antibody designed to mimic the “hacktivists” of Anonymous and neutralize them, has appeared out of the infernal regions of the intelligence community to feed that delusion, to inflame that obsession, to cater to that need to know. Icarus flew and fell. Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and the eagle ate his liver. A little knowledge may be a dangerous thing, but too much information is infinitely worse. To paraphrase and extend the famous line of T.S. Eliot, “Where is the wisdom lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge lost in information? Where is the information lost in Q?”
If Q was really interested in de-mystifying the Cryptocracy, he would pick one line of research at a time, elucidate it, deepen it, complete it, bring information to bear on it from many different directions, and thereby reach and establish a single conclusion—and he would do it with plenty of footnotes, he would reveal and cite his sources whenever possible. That’s good investigative journalism. Instead, Q appears as the great deconstructor, underminer and saboteur of investigative journalism, pursuing 60 mysteries at the same time, each one of which opens into 60 more. Instead of doing his best to gather information together, order it, establish a single center, articulate a single certainty, he fragments information just like the internet does, he blows it to the four winds. Fake news becomes anti-news. He makes any kind of certainty impossible, until—according to the strict canons of postmodernism—the very belief that certainty could be possible, the ability to grasp what this notion of “certainty” is supposed to be, or might once have been, is totally obliterated. Postmodernism teaches us that nothing can be known for sure, which—of course—creates in us an insatiable desire to know everything, just like starvation creates hunger. Then Q appears to service that desire, thereby not just asserting but exhaustively proving the original premise: that nothing can be known. Just as pornography deconstructs sex, so Q deconstructs knowledge, and does so using precisely the same method: the tease. If everything is true, then nothing is a true. If everything is a lie, then what can the exposé of that lie be but another lie? Think about it: would you describe Q as someone, or some thing, who loves the truth? And if not, then how can we avoid the traps he sets—especially when almost every “truth” we turn up, in our obsession to tear the veil off the mysteries, is hateful and bitter?
We can avoid them by cultivating the love of truth in ourselves.
The distinction between the virtue of wisdom and the vice of curiosity is given in the Book of Proverbs, which advises us to avoid the call of the “foolish woman” and respond instead to the call of Holy Wisdom. Proverbs describes the foolish woman as follows:
She sits at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city
Calling to the travelers who pass by on their way:
“Whoever is a fool, let him pay me a visit”. And to the one who lacks understanding, she says:
“Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret pleasant.”
What he doesn’t understand is that the dead are there, and all her guests are in the deepest
pit of hell.
(Proverbs 9: 14-18)
But Holy Wisdom says something else, something that may sound the same but is in fact an entirely different proposition:
She sends out her maidens, she cries out on the highest places of the city:
“Whoever is foolish, let him come to my house.” And to the one who needs understanding, she says:
“Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine I have prepared;
Abandon fools and live, and walk the paths of understanding….
“Hear instruction, get wisdom, and don’t refuse it:
Lucky is the man who hears me, who watches daily at my gates, who waits at my threshold.
Whoever finds me finds life, and will find favor in the eyes of God;
But whoever sins against me wrongs his own soul: all who hate me, love death.”
Q is the “foolish woman” of Proverbs—let’s call her “Queenie.” As prostitutes and pornography destroy men’s virility, so Queenie’s endless tease of maybe-false-maybe-true information drains the virility of the Intellect, blinds the Eye of the Heart. If you don’t want to take her bait, then find a knowledge you can love, and love it. If you do, then every lie in the universe, one by one, will do its best to come between you and that single love, thereby making itself vulnerable to exposure. In the simple defense of the truth you love, the “one thing needful” (Luke 10:42), all the lies that assail that truth can, God willing, be unmasked and defeated, because they can be weighed against a true and known value, against “Wisdom more precious than rubies” (Proverbs 8:11).
“And the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18); there is no other way to make sense of the ambiguities and illusions of existence. In the words of the Holy Qur’an, Truth has come and falsehood has vanished away; truly falsehood is ever bound to vanish (17:81).