“I think religion per se, is a ghastly blight on the progress of the human species towards the stars. At the same time, it, or something like it, has been an undeniable source of comfort, meaning and hope for the majority of poor bastards who have ever lived on Earth, so I’m not trying to write it off completely. I just wish that more people were educated to a standard where they could understand what religion is and how it works. Yes, it got us through the night for a while, but ultimately, it’s one of those ugly, stupid arse–over–backwards things we could probably do without now, here on the Planet of the Apes.
“Religion is to spirituality what porn is to sex. It’s what the Hollywood 3–act story template is to real creative writing.
“Religion creates a structure which places ‘special,’ privileged people (priests) between ordinary people and the divine, as if there could even be any separation: as if every moment, every thought, every action was not already an expression of dynamic ‘divinity’ at work.
“As I’ve said before, the solid world is just the part of heaven we’re privileged to touch and play with. You don’t need a priest or a holy man to talk to ‘god’ on your behalf–just close your eyes and say hello. ‘god’ is no more, no less, than the sum total of all matter, all energy, all consciousness, as experienced or conceptualized from a timeless perspective where everything ever seems to present all at once. ‘God’ is in everything, all the time and can be found there by looking carefully. The entire universe, including the scary, evil bits, is a thought ‘God’ is thinking, right now.
“As far as I can figure it out from my own reading and my own experience of how the spiritual world works, Jesus was, as they say, way cool: a man who achieved a state of consciousness, which nowadays would get him a diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy (in the days of the Emperor Tiberius, he was crucified for his ideas; today he’d be laughed at, mocked or medicated).
“This ‘holistic’ mode of consciousness…announces itself as a heartbreaking connection, a oneness, with everything that exists… There are a ton of meditation techniques which can take you to this place. I don’t see it as anything supernatural or religious, in fact, I think it’s nothing more than a developmental level of human consciousness, like the ability to see perspective – which children of 4 cannot do but children of 6 can.
“Everyone who’s familiar with this upgrade will tell you the same thing: it feels as if ‘alien’ or ‘angelic’ voices – far more intelligent, coherent and kindly than the voices you normally hear in your head – are explaining the structure of time and space and your place in it.
“This identification with a timeless supermind containing and resolving within itself all possible thoughts and contradictions, is what many people, unsurprisingly, mistake for an encounter with ‘God.’ However, given that this totality must logically include and resolve all possible thoughts and concepts, it can also be interpreted as an actual encounter with God, so I’m not here to give anyone a hard time over interpretation.
“Some people have the experience and believe the God of their particular culture has chosen them personally to have a chat with. These people may become born–again Christians, fundamentalist Muslims, devotees of Shiva, or misunderstood lunatics.
“Some ‘contactees’ interpret the voices they hear erroneously as communications from an otherworldly, alien intelligence, hence the proliferation of ‘abduction’ accounts in recent decades, which share most of their basic details with similar accounts, from earlier centuries, of people being taken away by ‘fairies’ or ‘little people.’
“Some, who like to describe themselves as magicians, will recognize the ‘alien’ voice as the ‘Holy Guardian Angel.’
“In timeless, spaceless consciousness, the singular human mind blurs into a direct experience of the totality of all consciousness that has ever been or will ever be. It feels like talking with God but I see that as an aspect of science, not religion.
“As Peter Barnes wrote in ‘The Ruling Class’, ‘I know I must be God because when I pray to Him, I find I’m talking to myself.'”
DAY OF THE DEAD
An Evening of Magic, Ancestor Worship, Visionary Art and Investigation
– Music by Raagnagrok All-Stars
– Talks by Stephen Grasso (‘Papa Ghede & the March of the Barons’)
– Dr David Luke (‘Death & the God of a Thousand Eyes’)
– Donal Ruane (‘Vine of the Soul’)
– Gyrus (‘Northern Sky Vortex’)
– Please bring a photo of a favourite cultural ancestor for our altar
and appropriate offerings for the dead
– Saturday 1st November 2008, The Horse Hospital, Collonade, Russell
Square, London WC1N 1HX
– Doors 7.30pm, closing late. Entrance £7.
“The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art – MoCCA – is pleased to announce a major retrospective of work by underground cartoonist and graphic novelist Kim Deitch (b. 1944), opening September 12th and running through December 5th, 2008.
“Kim Deitch: A Retrospective will display original comics pages and other work covering the artist’s entire career to date, beginning with full-page comic strips drawn for the East Village Other in 1967 up to recent graphic novels including The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Alias the Cat, Shadowland, and Deitch’s Pictorama. The exhibit will also feature rarely seen work including elaborate preparatory drawings, hand-colored originals, animation cel set-ups and lithographs.
“Cartoon Movie Night with Kim Deitch: October 30, 7 pm: Kim Deitch will host a Cartoon Movie Night featuring rarely seen animated cartoons from the 1920s and 1930s hand-picked for the occasion from Deitch’s own personal collection. This period of animation inspired Deitch’s signature character Waldo the Cat and is the subject of his acclaimed graphic novel The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which is featured in the exhibit. As a special Halloween treat, MoCCA will also display for one night only selected specimens from Deitch and spouse Pam Butler’s extensive collection of antique toy cats. The blurring of fact, fiction and autobiography in Deitch’s work is a major focus of Kim Deitch: A Retrospective, and this display will present a rare opportunity to see the historical artifacts that motivate the fictional narrative in Deitch’s graphic novel Alias the Cat.”
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art
594 Broadway, Suite 401
New York, NY 10012
Tuesday – Saturday: 12 – 5
Thursday: 12 – 6
Analysis of the chemical composition of hairs from an adult Andean male and a one-year-old baby, both dating between 800 and 1200 A.D., revealed the presence of the hallucinogenic alkaloid harmine. Buried with an elaborate snuffing kit, shown here, the adult male appeared to have suffered sniffing lesions near the nose.
Traces of hallucinogens found in mummy hair
Evidence shows ancient Andeans actually consumed mind-altering drugs
By Rossella Lorenzi – Oct. 29, 2008 – Discovery
Andean mummy hair has provided the first direct archaeological evidence of the consumption of hallucinogens in pre-Hispanic Andean populations, according to recent gas chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis.
Indirect evidence for psychoactive drug use in South America’s ancient populations abound, ranging from the discovery of drug equipment to the identification of hallucinogenic herb residuals in snuffing kits.
However, there wasn’t direct evidence that the ancient Andean people actually consumed mind-altering drugs.
To find a direct link, chemical archaeologist Juan Pablo Ogalde and colleagues at the University of Tarapacá in Arica, Chile, analyzed 32 mummies from the Azapa Valley in northern Chile.
Naturally mummified in the Acatama desert, the bodies belonged to the Tiwanaku, the ancestors of the Incas.
The little known Tiwanaku established a civilization around 1200 B.C. that prevailed for almost three millennia, becoming one of history’s longest-running empires.