What causes bad trips?

Any topics primarily focused on metaphysics can be discussed here, in a generally casual way, where conversations may take unexpected turns.

Moderator: Soul_of_Shu

User avatar
AshvinP
Posts: 2928
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:00 am
Location: USA

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:55 pm
Cleric K wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:12 pmShu, is this in response to my latest post or something else?
Just an observation. My take on Ramana's teaching is that while it does emphasize establishing the indelible foundational Realization of knowing ThySelf, it's not meant to be the end of exploration, since as far as I can tell that doesn't preclude whatever exploration may proceed from that Realization being fine, insofar as it is ancillary to that indelibly established Realization. However, insofar as such explorations proceed without that indelible Realization as the foundation, then they can very much be a distraction from first establishing the Realization.

Good point, Dana. As Cleric's inspired post above made wonderfully clear, knowing thy Self is not other than knowing the intersection of the Macrocosm and the microcosm in one's own spiritual Thinking activity. It is where the noumenon and phenomenon meet and grow harmoniously together to encompass increasingly more of the Whole living relations which give rise to our daily experience. Which also remidned me, I remember you said you had started on PoF recently? How is that going? It took me a couple approaches before I finally settled in and saw the profundity of Steiner's phenomenology there. So if you have any comments, questions, concerns, etc. about the content, please do share! For the reasons stated above in Cleric's post, Steiner knew PoF was his most important work for those genuinely seeking to approach the spiritual realms. But a lot of it will depend on our perspective, feelings, assumptions, etc. going into the material. We should be very attentive to those things as we approach any logical arguments, but especially those in PoF because it truly goes against the grain of everything we are conditioned to believe in the modern age, including the concepts of "thinking" and "freedom" and "purpose" and "morality".
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
User avatar
Soul_of_Shu
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:48 pm

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

AshvinP wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:42 pm Which also remidned me, I remember you said you had started on PoF recently? How is that going? It took me a couple approaches before I finally settled in and saw the profundity of Steiner's phenomenology there. So if you have any comments, questions, concerns, etc. about the content, please do share!
Yes, attracted by the alternate title Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path, I did listen to an audiobook version over a period of a couple of weeks. Accordingly, I just let it wash over this psyche, taking it in intuitively without letting any preconceived notions get in the way, and with no pro or con analysis of it. All I can really say is that I didn't find it incompatible with whatever insights I've been able to glean from the eclectic approach I've followed, albeit I don't claim to be in command of some great understanding of those explorations, which very much remains a work in progress. In that regard, I appreciate the eloquent elaborations offered here.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
User avatar
Cleric K
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:40 pm

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Cleric K »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:55 pm Just an observation. My take on Ramana's teaching is that while it does emphasize establishing the indelible foundational Realization of knowing ThySelf, it's not meant to be the end of exploration, since as far as I can tell that doesn't preclude whatever exploration may proceed from that Realization being fine, insofar as it is ancillary to that indelibly established Realization. However, insofar as such explorations proceed without that indelible Realization as the foundation, then they can very much be a distraction from first establishing the Realization.
This realization is the easy part. But things begin to diverge when we enter into the details. There are many different ways our Earthly self can take this realization into itself. We saw recently, someone posted Leo Gura, where this realization takes very peculiar form - the ego inflates endlessly to implode the whole universe in itself (and we are God all along).
In mysticism (including Ramana) we do something similar but in the opposite direction, so to speak - the Self continuously deidentifies with everything until there's nothing left but pure bliss spread throughout the Cosmos.

What both of these approaches have in common is that the sphere of personal consciousness is never really left. Leo's solution is that this personal sphere is all there exists and it will simply inflate indefinitely sucking as a blackhole every being, people, rocks, plants, animals, and make them unitary part of the inflating ego's imagination (or rather they are already part of that imagination but the God that we are has somehow went out-of-phase with his imaginary contents). The mystic's solution is that the contents of consciousness which constitute the personal sphere are being slowly released and thus we asymptotically approach the pure consciousness - that is, we already are pure consciousness but are distracted by the contents.

Recently I illustrated this:
Image

In both cases it is assumed that our current sphere of self-experience is already what it is. In the first case we simply have to overcome the illusion of separateness and suck in all contents of consciousness and make them our Godly imagination. In the second case we let go the contents of consciousness and more and more feel ourselves to be the circumference of the sphere, which is in itself featureless but yet completely blissful, infinite existence, containing all potential.

Now when we deal with the above descriptions entirely through our intellect, we can find logic in both of them. The only problem is that what these descriptions imply can only be extrapolated by the intellect beyond the threshold of physical death. In the first case, no matter how much Leo exerts himself, he won't be able to convert the perception of his wife into his own imaginative creation. She'll still drive him nuts and do the opposite of what he imagines that she should do. In the case of mysticism, even if we deidentify with everything in the mystical state, somehow we can't identify afterwards with another body, for example. That is, the threshold of physical death remains an actual boundary which we can't simply ignore. Leo will say "Yes, now I'm powerless to imagine my wife the way I want but I'll show her after death!". So it goes for the mystic.

These long posts (I really don't enjoy at all writing that much) have the sole purpose to show that this boundary of death can be crossed while on Earth, but only with the help of the type of consciousness that is appropriate for that world. This I also tried to illustrate:
Image

The blue shape is the same sphere (personal consciousness) that the previous image depicts. The big difference is that in both Leo and mysticism the true nature of that sphere is only extrapolated from within the intellectual state as a kind of asymptotically approachable limit, ultimately realizable only after physical death. On the other hand, in the above case cognition rises into a higher sphere, which not simply contains more colors, sounds, etc. but the contents of that sphere is the activity of higher beings within which our ordinary consciousness flows. In certain sense, the Cosmic Thoughts of those beings are the spiritual (archetypal) moulds within which our Earthly consciousness can flow. The only way we can step out of this dimensionalized flow of spiritual activity is by rising to the perspective of the higher beings themselves and observe how they Think the dimensionality of our Earthly being. Deidentifying with the contents of consciousness - even if up to the level of nothingness - doesn't give us the higher perspective. It leads us to a kind of pure consciousness but not that of the Divine but the purified personal sphere expanded to unfathomable distances. Although no mystic will admit to it, this actually is like saying "I'm willing to give away all the contents of consciousness but I'm not giving up the perspective that allows me to feel as if I'm observing reality from the ultimate periphery. I'd much rather succumb into nothingness than conceive of the possibility that there could be a higher perspective than mine, where a whole spiritual world of beings is active within my personal sphere (even if contentless)." It is similar to Leo's case "It's absurd that there could be a higher perspective than mine. I'm already that perspective - I'm God. It's all a matter to reconciliate the whole world into my imagination".
User avatar
Soul_of_Shu
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:48 pm

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Cleric K wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:54 pmThis realization is the easy part.
Easy seems relative ... In retrospect one wonders how it was ever missed. Before that one struggled as if it might never be known. So many seem to still be in the latter category, if anything, as mentioned, utterly distracted from that Knowing, which would seem indicative that no teaching has yet offered a 'surefire' method. And I'm still not convinced that unless one is ripe for it, any 'surefire' method will make much difference. Until then it seems a lot of uneasy suffering may be the 'teacher.'
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
User avatar
AshvinP
Posts: 2928
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:00 am
Location: USA

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

Cleric K wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:54 pm Now when we deal with the above descriptions entirely through our intellect, we can find logic in both of them. The only problem is that what these descriptions imply can only be extrapolated by the intellect beyond the threshold of physical death. In the first case, no matter how much Leo exerts himself, he won't be able to convert the perception of his wife into his own imaginative creation. She'll still drive him nuts and do the opposite of what he imagines that she should do...Leo will say "Yes, now I'm powerless to imagine my wife the way I want but I'll show her after death!". So it goes for the mystic.

Thank you for another great post, Cleric!

I wanted to comment briefly, the above immediately made me think of Inception again, where the main character (ironically played be Leo) is haunted by his wife in all the layers of the subconscious they 'descend' into. As the story goes, she couldn't accept that she was in Reality after they had awakened from a deep sleep ("limbo"), so she killed herself to "wake up" again. So then Leo must figure out how to come to terms with the fact that his own imagination of her is trying to keep him stuck in the past of "everything is Maya" and from moving forward with his life. He does that through consciously moving through the layers of his subconscious (which I think are three layers) until he reaches "limbo" again, but in full clarity of consciousness where he saves another character stuck down there and lets the imagination of his wife die before waking up through all layers of the dream and reuniting with his kids. In the final scene, though, Nolan drops a hint that there still may be more awakening to do.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
ParadoxZone
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:59 pm

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by ParadoxZone »

Ashvin/Cleric,

I'm following this thread and the other Steiner-related threads almost "religiously". I'm almost finished PoF, reading slowly and testing out the propositions where I can. I'll definitely have to read it again and take better notes.

I'm intrigued by the parallels being drawn between psychedelic experiences and sleep. As someone who has resolved to not go the psychedelic route, I have just one query (for now).

Is there anything you can point me to that deals with sleep experimentation that you think might be helpful? Is it advisable/necessary to go through stages, eg remembering dreams, then lucid dreaming etc? Or are there other, less sequential methods?

Thanks in advance.
User avatar
AshvinP
Posts: 2928
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:00 am
Location: USA

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

ParadoxZone wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:53 pm Ashvin/Cleric,

I'm following this thread and the other Steiner-related threads almost "religiously". I'm almost finished PoF, reading slowly and testing out the propositions where I can. I'll definitely have to read it again and take better notes.

I'm intrigued by the parallels being drawn between psychedelic experiences and sleep. As someone who has resolved to not go the psychedelic route, I have just one query (for now).

Is there anything you can point me to that deals with sleep experimentation that you think might be helpful? Is it advisable/necessary to go through stages, eg remembering dreams, then lucid dreaming etc? Or are there other, less sequential methods?

Thanks in advance.

PZ,

Good job almost finishing PoF!

Yours is definitely a question for Cleric, as I have no training with that. So far, I have been trying to write some notes after waking up before the dream imagery fade. I have noticed this practice, with also prayer and simple meditations before sleep, has helped the dream content stay fresh for longer after waking. But that's about all I can speak to so far.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
ParadoxZone
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:59 pm

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by ParadoxZone »

Ashvin,

Thanks, I've been doing that - telling myself that I want to remember dreams before "drifting off".

Maybe one brief question for you that might be helpful on a second reading of PoF - have you come across any argumentation here that you feel is relevant and needs to be resolved? I'm thinking in particular about Steiner's description/account of percept, concept, idea etc?

To save you time, if you could link to a thread or a post with the best counter argument, that would help. If there is none that you think is valid or worth bearing in mind during a second reading, fair enough.

Thanks.
User avatar
AshvinP
Posts: 2928
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:00 am
Location: USA

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

ParadoxZone wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:36 pm Ashvin,

Thanks, I've been doing that - telling myself that I want to remember dreams before "drifting off".

Maybe one brief question for you that might be helpful on a second reading of PoF - have you come across any argumentation here that you feel is relevant and needs to be resolved? I'm thinking in particular about Steiner's description/account of percept, concept, idea etc?

To save you time, if you could link to a thread or a post with the best counter argument, that would help. If there is none that you think is valid or worth bearing in mind during a second reading, fair enough.

Thanks.

That's a very interesting question and maybe a good challenge. I will try to read again through some of those chapters and see the best counter-argument I can muster, although I suspect I won't come up with anything very challenging. Really the best counter-arguments I have come across so far are those from other idealist philosophers in the Kantian tradition, mostly Schopenhauer. He is a good example of someone who goes directly against Hegel and Steiner on the philosophy of Spirit (Thinking). Here is a post from Cleric on the "philosophy unbound" thread in response to Schop argument:

Cleric wrote:To understand the quotes of Steiner that you provide we must read them in their context. And the context is "where do we find the noumenon?" What does it mean to find the noumenon (which Kant says we can never experience directly)? It would mean to find something within the World Content which is not merely appearance (mental image) but the actual thing-in-itself. If I see a color I don't know why I perceive it. The very perception approaches me as a riddle, I feel there's something missing in it. This motivated Kant to say that we only see the appearance but the missing part, which he called the noumenon, can never be experienced. So we're looking for something which doesn't stand as a question mark urging us to go further in order to understand it but presents itself as something complete. The argument of Schopenhauer is that the Will is this element which combines appearance with the actual thing. The appearance is the bodily perceptions of the movements and the actual thing is the willing spiritual activity. But how does he know this? He thinks it. Without thinking he would never even know that bodily will exists. We take this for granted but our spiritual willing activity is not the same as the bodily perceptions. It is enough to imagine a paralyzed limb in order to realize the difference between the willing intent and the perception of bodily movement. If we grasp this deeply we'll understand that our willing activity (for the human stage of today) is one of correlation. We're simply used to perceive our body moving in correlation with our spiritual willing intents. But to say that the bodily movement perceptions are the will, simply doesn't stand up to closer scrutiny. So this is one thing that we unknowingly add to the given through thinking. The other thing is that in our normal state we don't experience the Will of a plant or a growing crystal. We only know the Will through the movement of our own body. In this sense we know the Will only within the extents of our finite personality. To extend the Will as a World force we can only do through thinking, by stitching this idea to the World Content. This doesn't mean that the idea of World Will is wrong. It might be confirmed at some point but the fact is that in the given we don't perceive World Will.

The only place where appearance and the thing-in-itself are inseparably united is our thinking. If we experience thinking in the way of my post above, we find it to be complete - we have both the appearance (thought-forms) and the noumenon (the ideas). We need nothing outside thinking in order to understand our thoughts. They are complete in themselves. We can use thinking to ask questions about everything, including thinking itself but the actual process of thinking doesn't raise questions, we don't need to analyze our thoughts in order to understand what we are thinking. This doesn't make sense because the analyzation itself would be thinking which would itself need to be analyzed, thus we would need recursive analyzation and never reach actual understanding of our thoughts. Instead, the thought perceptions (words, symbols, etc.) and their ideal meaning are inseparably united. The phenomenon and noumenon are one in the process of thinking.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
User avatar
AshvinP
Posts: 2928
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:00 am
Location: USA

Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

AshvinP wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:55 pm
ParadoxZone wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:36 pm Ashvin,

Thanks, I've been doing that - telling myself that I want to remember dreams before "drifting off".

Maybe one brief question for you that might be helpful on a second reading of PoF - have you come across any argumentation here that you feel is relevant and needs to be resolved? I'm thinking in particular about Steiner's description/account of percept, concept, idea etc?

To save you time, if you could link to a thread or a post with the best counter argument, that would help. If there is none that you think is valid or worth bearing in mind during a second reading, fair enough.

Thanks.
That's a very interesting question and maybe a good challenge. I will try to read again through some of those chapters and see the best counter-argument I can muster, although I suspect I won't come up with anything very challenging.

I have been giving this some real thought. So far, the best 'counter-arguments' I could think of are simply questions which may arise in this context and could be challenging to answer without significant consideration and effort. Here are a few:


- Why is our bodily organization structured so the World Content, in the form of percepts and concepts, approach us from without and within, respectively?

- How much of the conceptual "attachment" process occurs subconsciously for the average person today? Is there any way of figuring this out and therefore how much meaning is "left out" for us to "attach" consciously?

- How we do know various perspectives perform this "attachment" in the same manner and, if they don't or we don't know, how do we explain the sense that most perceive much of the same meaning in the world? Do we actually perceive much of the same meaning in the world?

- Why have so many brilliant philosophers failed to realize something as simple as the phenomenon and noumenon being united in their own thinking activity? Can we really assume so many people would have gone their entire lives missing this connection when they are studying precisely that epistemic issue?


That's what I have so far. I think some portion of the answers to the above go beyond the scope of PoF, and more into Steiner's spiritual science, and Cleric and I have wrote about them in various other places. There are also the various "why" questions about the entire "purpose" of this fragmentation and integration by way of thinking and Thinking. Those types of questions are nearly always asking to observe the Cosmos from a 3rd-person which simply does not exist and therefore they are meaningless. In fact, a good portion of PoF points out how many meaningless questions are asked by popular philosophies in the modern age. If I think of any other significant questions or counter-arguments, I may add them later.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
Post Reply