Machine-elves and the false prison break—or, religion and psychedelic drugs
I had a realisation about drugs and religion—about why people like to take LSD, DMT, and ayahuasca to have religious experiences. The common criticism as regards these people is that they will be “demon-possessed” by South American swamp deities—and that may happen, yet it is not the main problem with this approach.
The main problem with “drug-gnosis” is that it is an evasion. When you take the drugs, you expect to experience hallucinations—nobody claims they do not hallucinate on mushrooms, DMT, and LSD. What is claimed—especially by men like Joe Rogan and Graham Hancock—is that the realms they enter in these states have an objective reality too; and hence it is here they meet “machine-elves” and other entities, the cosmic stage-hands. I agree this is so. Yet the psychonaut returns from his trip and says, “I don’t know what I experienced, it felt like it was something real—yet I can’t say for sure, it could just be the mushrooms.” In other words, it’s an excuse—they return somewhat provoked, yet also doubtful.
The people who take these drugs want to escape what Hancock calls “everyday problem-solving consciousness”—or what Heidegger would have characterised as the Cartesian world that conceals Dasein (“I think, therefore, I am”—or is it that your “amness” provides the stage upon which you think, and that to prioritise thought conceals or dissects “amness”). The reason most people seem robotic—often especially so to DMT-heads and so on—is that most people are stuck in analytical problem-solving mode; it is what you are born into, what you are taught in school, and what appears everywhere in the media—and even in many religions. “What’s your objective here? What’s his end game? What’s your plan? What can I get out of you?” (the latter being a literal expression used by one of my employers). Grabby-grabby, wanty-wanty—the analytical mode; it’s an invisible prison—extraction is its goal; and within its walls everything is a resource to be utilised, squeezed until the pips squeak.
Psychedelic drugs remove the invisible prison—as does alcohol, to an extent—and so the drug experience can feel like religious liberation; everyone else is stuck, cannot “just be”—they are not liberated. Everyday consciousness is what Colin Wilson called “the robot”; people learn a skill—say, to drive—then the skill is routinised so that it is performed without their awareness (the “robot” takes over). In fact, as Wilson notes, many people just let “the robot” live their whole lives—it is the repertoire of “coping mechanisms” or the “efficient armour for the inner child” (Ted Hughes) that navigates the world.
This is why when you meet people they often seem stereotyped and dead—you met the robot, you met the efficient armour. The constant desire to thrill-seek or to pursue novelty is an attempt to escape the prison; yet the analytical mode used to seek pleasure is the prison itself—after the night out, you feel empty and alone. Life is not a problem to be solved—yet people in the West are taught to treat it as such.
Hence most people never really grow—“evolve”, in a non-Darwinian way, Wilson would say—since they never really experience anything. Notably, the most actually robotic people I have met recently were at Starbucks—they take your name for an order first, unnaturally, even if they’ve met you before (regulations demand you must not deviate from the script, or else your supervisor will run through the script with you again); then they offer you a cake (upselling) in a desultory manner. It is no surprise that the most robotic cafe chain is also the most progressive, the keenest on causes like transgenderism.
People who take psychedelics basically blow the robotic facade away—it’s no wonder they become religious proselytisers who think “DMT will save the world”; if you listen to Rogan, he brings DMT into everything—DMT will save the world, have you tried it? Have you met *Jesus*? I have—and since I let him into my life (mouth), everything has changed. After all, it is a huge relief to escape the robot—paradise. Now, the same effects can be achieved without alcohol and drugs: you can do the same if you’re candid and honest; and if you meditate and undertake certain ceremonies. Do that and you will escape the robot—escape its reassertions, even. Eventually, if you persist in inner truth, you will see that there is another realm as well—or realms; it requires patience, though—it’s not a quick-fix.
This is why drugs are an evasion. The DMT tripper receives some temporary relief from “the robot”, yet it is only temporary—he depends on the drug to escape “the robot”. Genuine religions provide a means for permanent escape from “the robot” without the need to drug yourself constantly—a time-limited experience with negative biological consequences. Secondarily, the DMT tripper can never know if what he has seen was an hallucination or not. I’ve seen supernatural entities and I saw them stone-cold sober and in fine mental health—I can be sure about what I saw and heard. The DMT tripper can never be sure, and this uncertainty gives him an excuse to go back to “the robot”—back to techno-science (The Joe Rogan Experience) and earnest beard-tugging about “is it real?” or “UFOs or gods—do the mushrooms have the answer?”.
Even The Matrix, the supposed quintessential prison break from technology, poses its liberation dilemma as a drug, red-blue pill—the reason that film offers false gnosis, why its makers became transgender, is that the escape from the Matrix is an escape into technology. Outside the Matrix, there are humans with a less-advanced technology—computers, anti-gravity craft—that doesn’t want to kill them, presumably being too dumb. What is absent is a true gnosis—one that liberates a person from the material realm into the spiritual realm. That is because for the people who made The Matrix such a realm does not exist—although perhaps there is a “red pill” (DMT) you could take that would liberate you into an “alternative technology” (Terence McKenna and his Timewave Zero program). Hence The Matrix is no escape—but that’s Hollywood for you.
So there is no liberation from the robot in the psychedelic drug state, only a partial liberation—and only “useful doubts” that mean you will not change your life in the necessary ways; and this is what is really pernicious about psychedelic drugs, not the risk you might be demonically possessed—although that is a possibility—but rather that this is another evasion, the same prison.