Eros e Thanatòs: vol.I (Italian Edition)
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My path has been primarily that of psychedelic exploration. From my very first experience in April, , I concluded that LSD is the most profound learning tool available to man. It took many years to become familiar with the characteristics and potential of this and similar substances, and with the most appropriate ways to use them. Many more years of study and application brought a steady increase in growth of awareness and knowledge.
These substances are very powerful, and they give access to vast dimensions of the human mind for which we westerners have very little understanding. Used with little skill or knowledge, they can produce very unsettling experiences -- so unsettling that the medical profession has chosen the term psychotomimetic psychosis-mimicking to describe them. What may be worse, they may produce convictions of new, superior wisdom without revealing how to employ such wisdom in ordinary life. Some are convinced they have the ultimate answers, yet are still unaware of their own self-deceptions.
While very much at home in the levels of universal love and Oneness, they have failed to resolve deeply established habits that interfere with the expression of integrity and compassion in their day-to-day life. But as way-showers of appropriate values and behavior and revealers of man's ultimate capabilities, they have in my opinion no equal anywhere. Best results are obtained when used in conjunction with an on-going spiritual discipline and practice, and in the companionship of experienced and knowledgeable associates.
Prime prerequisites for these journeys are honesty and a true appreciation for life in all its bountifulness. Commitment to the welfare of oneself and others favorably enhances the outcome. My experience with psychedelics, greatly enriched in the latter years of my life by exposure to some of the practices of Tibetan Buddhist meditation, has opened up extended areas of understanding. The famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung has stated that realization of our ultimate self is a process of making the unconscious conscious.
Psychedelic substances greatly facilitate this process. Jung has shown us through his relentless, fearless, dedicated exploration of his own unconscious that the unconscious reveals an enormous range of wisdom -- from one's own hidden personal dynamics, to the archetypes underlying human behavior and development, and finally to the very essential nature of reality and creation. A very important aspect of these inner dynamics is our Shadow. My own experience powerfully confirms Jung's emphasis on the importance of encountering and integrating shadow material.
The Shadow, which includes all of the painful and undesirable material in our lives which we desperately wish to hide from consciousness, imprisons a great part of our energy and unconsciously exerts a powerful influence upon our behavior against our will. Yet it contains the energy and wisdom which will make us whole, give us true understanding and a real zest for life.
Shadow material is extremely difficult to face and acknowledge. The failure to do so, I am convinced, is largely responsible for the world's difficulties, and particularly the pain and suffering of the world. Lack of understanding of shadow material is responsible for our enormous drives of self-interest -- for the greed, anger, and striving for status and domination that stands in the way of human compassion, harmony, true wisdom, and creativity. Facing my own shadow has been enormously difficult and painful.
I feel certain that I could never have approached it in any depth without the aid of psychedelic substances. These have helped in two ways. The first is through their wondrous ability to dissolve defenses and resistances for the earnest explorer, so that access to powerful unconscious material is permitted. More important, they allow access to the Celestial level and the discovery of the Divine Love and Grace which permeate the universe. If one can reach this level of experience, it is so overpowering and leads to such utter gratitude and trust that there is no hesitation in putting oneself in the hands of the Supreme Teacher.
One is willingly led, if need be, through the dungeons of human agony and the distortions of one's own personal creations to achieve freedom, understanding, and a more profound level of love. I wish very much to share with you what has been a most exciting journey for me, a journey which has been wondrously fulfilling. The following pages summarize my life in the psychedelic world.
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It starts with my spiritual quest and introduction to what I prefer to call the sacraments. Another twenty years was spent researching promising new compounds as they became available. Throughout this time, I was busily engaged in my own personal development process, which is documented in considerable detail as drug trials progressed. Because my marriage relationship was so central to my personal growth, I have devoted a separate chapter to provide an overview of this part of my life.
I also report on experiments with other persons and with a variety of compounds. To restrict interference with the flow of the narrative, I have compiled certain accumula tions of data and conclusions in four Appendixes in the back, and refer to them in the text where appropriate. These appendixes may be consulted to clarify language or concepts used in the individual reports. There is much confusion and misinformation in the world concerning psychoactive drugs, what they do, and their potential usefulness.
Work reported here indicates a number of valuable applications, and considerable potential to enhance learning. All of this can be accomplished comfortably and safely with informed use. The potential value seems to clearly indicate the initiation of new scientific research in this field. One afternoon some years ago I was discussing my resistance to writing with a good friend, an extraordinarily competent person. Despite having just gone through an earth-shaking experience, I couldn't mobilize the energy to write.
There were years of accumulated data to digest, which seemed a heavy burden. And new information was constantly turning up. There was something appealing about the idea -- probably the freshness of the approach, since I tend to be stodgy and quite organized most of the time. Maybe the uniqueness of such a start would loosen some of the strands of creativity. But yet -- I wasn't ready. There was still a major problem.
The experience just behind me was one of the most powerful of my life. But how would it turn out? I have been blessed by many outstanding, profound experiences in my life. But there is something more important than having experiences, wonderful as they may be. I wished these marvelous states of realization to stay with me all the time. The trouble was, most of the time I found myself back in what Aldous Huxley called my "old stinking, sweating self.
But not as much as I wanted. Would my enthusiasm over this last profound experience fade away as had the others? Over the two months following this very special experience, a fascinating change began to evolve. I found more and more how to maintain the exalted state I had been seeking. It was so fulfilling that I knew I must begin to write. This special event modified my whole approach to learning. To describe this occasion in an appropriate perspective, I wish to go back in time and retrace the events that led to this experience.
My spiritual awakening started around , when I was 30 years old. It's difficult to focus on that time of my life without invoking the uncomfortable feelings I underwent almost continuously. I was extraordinarily neurotic, completely shut up within myself. I lived mostly inside my head, in fantasy. Extremely sensitive, I was self-conscious and uncomfortable most of the time. Many people were difficult to be around. I was so involved with myself that I hardly noticed others. Yet it was extremely important for me to have other people's acceptance, to the extent that I often found it difficult to express what I truly thought and felt in fear of incurring disfavor.
So I repressed an enormous amount of anger. Because of my continual discomfort, I was constantly alert for any method to ease the pain. I had a few good qualities. I was reasonably bright, having graduated first in my high school class and at the local military junior college in my home town of Roswell, New Mexico. I was also awarded a couple of fellowships which allowed me to take a year of graduate study in electrical engineering and get a master's degree. One of my innate gifts, which I didn't recognize until recently, is an excellent sense of balance, of appropriateness, which has always allowed me to keep things in proper perspective.
This helped lead to a successful career in industry. I had an excellent sense of the warranted time and energy each department should expend in accomplishing corporate objectives.
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I was also able to get members of different departments to understand each other and their functions, and how they could best work together to iron out operational difficulties. My major vocational accomplishment was growing up with Ampex Corporation. Ampex started as a very small, obscure firm manufacturing electric motors and grew into a world leader in the field of magnetic recording.
I progressed from design engineer of magnetic recording components to production engineer to application engineer to Director of Instrumentation Sales to Assistant to the President for Long Range Planning. It was in the last position that I had my first encounter with LSD. At the time I was familiar with the frontiers of many technological fields of knowledge, for we were designing special magnetic recording equipment to aid research in most of those fields: I felt abreast of most scientific developments.
There were several key events that led me to LSD. The first commenced one afternoon when I received a phone call from Clarence. Clarence was both a neighbor and a mechanical engineer at Ampex. He was a very quiet, likable, unassuming fellow whom I found it very easy to be with. We found we could very naturally discuss many areas involving depth of meaning not encountered in usual social conversations. Clarence was going to a series of lectures, and he thought I would enjoy the speaker. It had been many years since I had attended a lecture.
I was completely focused on work and contributing what I could to help a new, budding company get started and grow healthily. I felt ready for a change of pace. Since I trusted Clarence's judgment and liked being with him, I agreed to attend. The lectures were held in a small library in South Palo Alto, just off the Stanford campus. The lecturer was Harry Rathbun, a professor of business law at Stanford University. Harry was a striking individual -- tall, handsome, graying, with a remarkably saintly demeanor. Kindness and concern exuded from him. And he was a commanding speaker. I didn't find out until later that students at Stanford University had voted him a favorite among teachers.
His last class of the year in business law, where he discussed personal ethics and values, overflowed with students coming from all over the school to hear his now-famous address. His lectures hit me between the eyes. As he started, and warmed up to his topic, I found I was starved for the information he was imparting. After the first lecture, I could not possibly miss the remaining five. I didn't remember ever being as stimulated by a speaker.
I hung on his every word. The theme of his lectures was: Where are we going? Are we still evolving? Do we have any evidence to answer these questions? I hadn't realized it, but I was deeply concerned about these topics. Perhaps the more so because I had pushed such consid erations totally out of my life while I established a profession and a career in magnetic recording.
I was as ready as hot sand in the desert for rainfall. Harry convinced me of the enormity of human potential, of the necessity to wake up and take charge of our evolution, that we had a hallowed destiny, and that we could reach it by taking charge of our personal growth. I was thrilled by the picture that he painted. Then he threw me a curve. In his last lecture, he addressed the means by which we could begin to accomplish this splendid goal. It was by studying the teachings of Jesus! As a Jew, I felt I had been led down a garden path.
What a sneaky trap! Yet I had been deeply touched. So the following year, when Harry Rathbun led a series of discussion groups, I was drawn to them once more. When I set aside my bias against Jesus and my feelings about what has happened to Jews around the world in his name, I found what was proposed very much to my liking.
We examined this book with a hard-headed, down-to-earth approach to answer the questions: Do his teachings make any sense? Has he found any truth? Is there any value there for us as individuals in leading our personal lives? I found I very much enjoyed participating in this examination, and joined a discussion group.
I liked working in the group, the friendships that arose, the challenge of the material, and the answers that began to emerge with ever-growing clarity and power. A two-week seminar led by Harry Rathbun and his wife Emilia greatly intensified our search and discussions. By the time the seminar was over, I experienced true love for others for the first time in my life, and became convinced of the power of the message of Jesus.
When his teachings were separated from the frills, beliefs, and projections, the impact was enormous. I was inescapably led to the conclusion that the most important thing I can do with my life is to commit myself to the will of God. A great deal of the discussion focused on what this meant and how to do it. It was while attending this seminar that I had my first real mystical experience. One evening, lying on the floor of the lodge where we met, I was looking up through the glass skylight at the redwood trees beautifully illuminated by moonlight, listening to Gregorian chants.
I suddenly felt a pain in my chest -- a deep, profound feeling that was ecstatic despite the pain. Never before had I encountered such a feeling. It was from another dimension. I knew with absolute conviction that I was being touched by God. Previously I had been willing to believe in God, but my belief was speculation. I was enormously moved by the impact of this discovery. I started getting up every morning to meditate, and my experiences immediately became intense and insightful.
At the same time, I began reading every important book on psychology and mysticism that I could get my hands on. It is no wonder, then, that I joined this group and became an active member. I served several years on the planning committee, which comprised the most dedicated of the followers. We not only served as a management advisory council for the organization known as the Sequoia Seminar, but conducted many activities for our own self-growth. I might be with them yet, if another powerfully influential figure had not strolled into my life.
I have been most fortunate in meeting several outstanding people in my life. Gerald Heard was certainly one of them. My first encounter with him was hearing him lecture. Gerald was a good personal friend of Harry and Emelia Rathbun, the leaders of the Sequoia Seminar with whom I was deeply involved at the time. Gerald was probably one of the world's outstanding contemporary mystics, and was responsible for personally introducing Aldous Huxley to Eastern thought. This exposure made such a profound impression on Huxley that it completely altered the direction of his writing.
Gerald was a prolific writer himself, and wrote with great insight on humankind's evolutionary and spiritual development. One of his books, Preface to Prayer, made an enormous impact on me, opening my eyes to the possibility of other levels of reality beyond my usual engineering-focused concepts. Such works further reinforced my confidence in the reality of mystical levels of experience. But what really struck me about Gerald was his power as a speaker. Although slight of build, he had a commanding voice and appearance.
With his thoughtful face and handsome beard, he looked like a sage, and the beautiful flow of words that came from him proved that he was. In perfect diction, extraordinarily expressive prose, and with the accent and voice of authority that only an Englishman can muster, his words came across forming beautiful images and profound stirrings of understanding.
Gerald specialized in conceptual thinking, so that he was a master of tying together various elements of human exploration and understanding to form higher and higher levels of significance. I found listening to him to be truly transport ing. I was so impressed with Gerald that I went to visit him in Pacific Palisades whenever my company business took me to Los Angeles, which was rather frequently. So when Gerald led a two-week seminar at the Sequoia Seminar lodge, I was delighted to attend.
It was a dynamic, growth-stimulating, inspiring seminar. This image that I have retained through the years perhaps best gives the flavor of it:. Gerald would come into the meeting room, which was hexagonal in shape, with windows all around giving excellent views of the surrounding hills and redwood trees. The group of some twenty persons sat opposite him as he took his chair near the center.
He always came in with a huge sheaf of papers which he placed in his lap. He would then start his discourse, and for two hours he would flow like a fountain, his statements perfectly arranged, in exquisitely composed poetic prose. He spoke mostly of spiritual growth and development. An outstanding scholar, he was familiar with most of the works in the spiritual literature. He would quote names and dates, and often whole stanzas of poetry, without once looking at the papers he brought with him. It was as though his hand resting on the manila folder holding his papers made sufficient contact to draw up all the wisdom they contained.
An example of his creativity and the extreme fluidity of his mind came in an evening gathering. At dinner, one of the more aggressive and humorous members of our group said, "Gerald, why don't you spice things up a bit tonight and talk about SEX? That evening, at every opportunity, he wove into the fabric of his discourse anecdotes regarding women in the early history of the church.
He covered the trials and tribulations of the sexes attempting to relate, especially in regard to celibacy and the difficulties of maintaining it in the interest of spiritual growth. His penetrating insight and good humor kept us all laughing. I could hardly believe him; I could not understand why a person of his gifts who could freely explore the cosmos with his mind would want to take a drug.
He gave me excellent assurance of the value of this approach in a letter, and gave me the name of that strange Canadian who came down and sometimes administered LSD to him and Aldous Huxley. The man was Al Hubbard. Hubbard didn't often cross my mind until Alexander Poniatoff, the Chairman of the Board of Ampex, with whom I was intimately related for a number of years, told me of meeting this fabulous character in Canada.
The stories Al related concerning people he had cured using LSD were quite outlandish. This second exposure to Hubbard piqued my interest, and I wrote a long letter to Al concerning my spiritual aspirations and requesting more information about LSD. My letter must have impressed him, as it wasn't long until Al Hubbard called on me in person at Ampex. Hubbard made a deeper impression on me than anyone I had ever met. It was an impression that radically altered my whole value-belief system, and completely changed the course of my life.
Hubbard ran into psychedelics in the early 's, when he became a research subject for experiments employing mescaline at the University of Vancouver. With his great sensitivity and free, intuitive mind, Al readily achieved remarkable experiences of mystical levels and enormous depths of understanding. Fully aware of the potential of such experiences, he used his very appreciable entrepreneurial abilities to acquire copious supplies of LSD. He experimented widely, and reported excellent results in treating alcoholics and helping many others with serious emotional problems.
He won the support of psychiatrists Humphry Osmond and Abram Hoffer in Saskatchewan by demonstrating that LSD was not a psychotomimetic as designated by the medical profession. Hubbard was able to help them set up appropriate methods employing LSD to treat alcoholism. With his outstanding success, he dedicated himself to teaching others how to employ this new tool. His enterprise ultimately led him to my office at Ampex.
What a contrast between he and me! Here I was, slight of build, deadly serious, extremely introverted, trembling at whether others approved of me or not, anxious to follow all the rules and conventions of society. And here was he, large in body, constantly grinning, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, turning everything into fun. He was voracious in his appetites for all that life had to offer, and a great belittler of all that ordinary persons held dear.
What a combination -- my staid character that didn't wish to tread on anyone's toes, and he, constantly looking how to upset the status quo and produce some excitement. Hubbard was warm and engaging, and a great story teller. There was so little warmth in my own life that I was rapidly roped in. And he was an expert in discerning one's weaknesses, and playing upon them to advantage. Which meant that he could be most appealing and charming if his aim was to build a friendship. He had powerful tools to reinforce his own canniness.
Eros e thanatos |
That first day, he took me to a motel where he and his wife and another traveling companion, a close friend of the family, were staying. The contact was magical, and was retained and reinforced through the remainder of the day by the methedrine I had ingested. Never before had I felt such euphoria. Our first meeting had occurred in February, and Al wanted me to wait until spring when we could go to his island, a beautiful 28 acre wooded stretch of land in the Vancouver Gulf. However, I was too impatient, so he consented to let me come in April, and I had my first LSD experience in his apartment, April 12, By the time I undertook this experience, I had talked at length with Al and had read a number of reports.
I had no trouble accepting that our minds are infinite, that the total memories of our life are stored in and available in our unconscious, that our inner being is eternal and through it we can explore past lives, the evolution of our planet and our universe, and understand the workings of the cosmos. I was eager to verify these things for myself. I was prepared for the experience by taking some additional inhalations of the Meduna mixture, and on the morning of my experience, was introduced to Monsignor Brown, archbishop of the local Catholic Diocese.
Father Brown gave his blessing for my journey and promised to remember me at noon Mass, when I would be in the heart of my venture. I was given about 66 micrograms of LSD procured from the original manufacturer, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals. Al, his wife Rita, and an associate of Al's in this work, Bill Galleon, were my guides who supported me through this experience. The following are excerpts from my notes made a few days following the experience:. Later in the experience I expect to journey back in time, similar to reports I had read, and look at the dinosaurs. Nothing like that is happening, and I am getting more and more uncomfortable.
I am shown a picture of Christ, Veronica's Veil. The picture is designed so that one can see the eyes either open or shut. Jesus looks right at me, first with eyes open, then with eyes shut, then alternating. Suddenly the face changes completely! It is a female face! I look again closely, startled. As I look, another face swishes into its place, then another one.
Suddenly the faces begin to change at an enormous rate, so that hundreds of faces sweep past me. Each one is crystal clear, complete in every detail. I see men, women, and children in all walks of life. I particularly remember a rabbi with a long flowing beard, a gruesome looking pirate with a black patch over one eye, a Chinaman with a long ponytail. The last two I somehow associate with Al.
Finally it dawns on me. I say out loud, "This is every man. This is a shaking revelation. It brings complete relief from my feelings of discomfort. However they soon return and intensify. I lie down for two miserable hours, feeling I should relive my birth as others had done. I am unable to do so. Finally I am asked to sit up in a chair. This feels somewhat better. Bill asks, "Myron, who's approval did you seek? I begin to think. Was it my father? I am able to run back through my life at a rapid pace, like rapidly turning pages in a book. I had perhaps picked this up from reading a report of Bill's.
I can see and know with surety that it wasn't my father. I repeat the procedure with my mother. As I am doing this, I am suddenly caught in a horribly painful stance. My head is bent over, my body is under enormous pressure, the vertebrae in my back are crushed together as though being squeezed in a vise.
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The pain is unbearably excruciating. I feel I simply can't stand it. Suddenly I am propelled forward, and I am exploded from the birth canal! Several dramatic things happen simultaneously. First, the enormous release from the pain. Next, I feel as though I am suddenly struck by lightning, as an enormous burst of energy pervades my body.
This is the release of a monumental charge of anger and an incredibly profound feeling of absolute worthlessness. I blurt out loud, "They couldn't wait for me to be born!! I am shaken to the core. I can't believe that such an enormous charge of feeling had all this time been held below the surface of consciousness without my having a clue of its presence or content. I realize that I had been hung up in the process of being born, and had been under enormous pressure and pain for some time.
I was no doubt causing my mother a lot of pain, and I felt utterly worthless and condemned for holding up the process and creating so much pain. At the same time I can rapidly scan my life and see how this had been the most powerful personality-forming dynamic. I can see how it affected my feelings, my responses, my entire way of conducting myself. It accounts for my deep sense of worthlessness, my drive for status and accomplishment, my intense eagerness to please others, my compulsion for never being late to an appointment.
Enormous relief floods over me. This experience relieves the powerful uncomfortable feelings, and the remainder of the session is more enjoyable. I feel led through several interesting instructional experiences. At one point I am searching for God's will. Intense fear and tensions build up in my body, and it becomes clear that I must die. I put myself in a state of willingness, and then the tensions and fear suddenly lift.
An inner voice says to me, "You only have to be willing to die; you don't actually have to die. The impact that this experience had on me was enormous. We talk about the unconscious, and think we know what it is. But to suddenly be confronted with powerful unconscious material, to know that the unconscious is really real, to realize the utter power of it and not to have so much as a clue as to the root or nature of it!!
And the revelations also included profound realizations that God is absolutely real, and that there is only One Person, of which we are all a part. I held LSD to be the most important discovery man has ever made, and would devote my life to learning more about it and how to use it effectively, not only for myself but for others.
The next few years were spent in a number of exploratory avenues. There was no question that I was a zealot. I saw experiences like mine bringing answers to all of the world's problems, and providing humankind with the powerful tools needed for growth and development. There was much to learn. Who would be adequate subjects for this kind of exploration? How successful would such experiences be with different kinds of individuals? What would be the best procedures for utilizing such a powerful and outstanding tool? First I went to my close associates in the Sequoia Seminar.
While some of them had interesting and worthwhile experiences with LSD, they didn't particularly care for my now bosom buddy, Al Hubbard. They saw him as an enormous egotist; they were repulsed by his fun-loving manner which made light of their serious approach to life. We formed an LSD research group, but there was dissension among the members.
To me, none of the plans showed promise compared to Hubbard's direct approach with proven results. So I moved out on my own. I had been leading a Sequoia Seminar type discussion group for a couple of years, and was very close to all the members of the group. They decided to try LSD. One Monday night a member of the group would take LSD, and the rest of us would support her or him.
All of the experiences were fruitful and valuable. We began to see differences in the responses of individuals, and the fact that there was a great variety of response, varying from psychological dynamics to mystical realizations. I grew confident in my understanding of how to work with this substance, and verified that LSD was not a psychotomimetic as the medical profession claimed. I also understood why they made the claim. I see two major factors. If one has no understanding of the vast dimensions of the mind beyond ordinary experience such as extra-sensory perception or of the spiritual basis of reality, one might feel that experiencing such actualities is insanity.
The second factor involves the manner in which the experience is accepted. We found the action of the drug often worked to dissolve powerfully held false beliefs or painfully repressed or frightening feelings. This action often met with powerful resistance on the part of the subject. Surrendering to such experiences led to profound new understanding.
Determined resistance, however, led to much pain and suffering, and sometimes escape into psychotic-type episodes. To avoid such discomfort, it is extremely important to approach psychedelic substances with good motivation, openness, and with a sincere desire to learn. In the LSD state, it is possible to reach levels where the mind is sharp and clear. Fresh ideas and perspectives flow unhindered, presenting many new possibilities, often of great value.
I felt that such heightened perceptions could be valuable in improving business operations. At this time, I was Assistant to the President in Charge of Long Range Planning, and was a member of the Ampex Management Committee that reviewed and often arrived at management decisions for the Corporation. I made my proposal to the group, and immediately encountered enormous resistance. There was great fear of trying unknown substances on as delicate an organ as the brain.
My own experience and that of Hubbard were completely discounted. I was too naive to understand why. So I went ahead on my own, selecting a group of engineers who were good friends and interested in the experiment.
With the help of Hubbard and a physician friend, eight subjects underwent the experience at a cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There was a wide range of experiences, but all were impressed with the enormous openings of the mind, the ability to experience new levels of thought and comprehension, the gain in self-knowledge, and in some cases, the ability to solve technical problems. But much to my amazement, the results were totally ignored by management. He was strongly advised by the latter group to completely discourage me from this work, as I had no medical or therapeutic training.
My experience continued to grow, and I was awed at the ability to learn of mental processes well beyond my previous understanding. I also began to understood the enormous fear most persons had of psychedelic substances. Almost everyone has an innate fear of encountering the unconscious, as the unconscious mind contains much material that we wish to hide from ourselves.
The fear and discomfort is often greater for professionals, who place great store on their special training. They cannot be sure how their values and functioning will appear in the light of cosmic truth. Abram Hoffer in Canada, who worked with LSD in the s, found that ministers, psychologists, and psychiatrists often had the most uncomfortable experiences.
A key experience came for me in , when I took a much larger dose than usual, micrograms, Al deeming that I was ready for it. With this realization I broke down completely and sobbed and sobbed without letup for fifteen minutes. Later I sat down to play the piano, and played as I have never played before. I felt that I was playing the music as the composer realized it, and able to express the marvelous depth of feeling the composer was portraying.
This experience led to a quantum-step improvement in my ability to play the piano, which remained with me from that time on. I had now gathered enough understanding that it was imperative to spend full time at this research. In I resigned from Ampex, set up a non-profit corporation which I boldly and naively named the International Foundation for Advanced Study, and located offices and research space in the town of Menlo Park, California, where I lived.
I was encouraged in this step by several good friends familiar with the potential of psychedelics, and who later joined the staff of the Foundation. Savage was a psychiatrist who had done some research with psychedelic materials, and looked forward to doing more work in this field. A great deal was discovered about the effective use of these substances and the enormous potential they offer for numerous avenues of research. Savage assembled a number of volunteers to be part of the research staff which planned and gathered important elements of information.
We learned many important principles for conducting psychedelic sessions, selecting subjects, responses to expect, and the follow-up that was required. An early lesson was the disadvantage of treating only one member of an unhappy marriage. The experience often widened the rift between the couple. We established the policy of requiring both parties to participate.
An exception was the case where the untreated party was deemed mature and thoroughly supported the partner through the psychedelic experience and the outcome. One of our therapists, Don Allen, was a former Ampex engineer. Because of his and my background, we attracted a number of engineers to our program. We found engineers often to be unusually sensitive individuals. Because of their sensitivity, they found many of their early life experiences painful. This resulted in the choice of a vocation that dealt with inanimate objects, sparing further emotional pain.
LSD was a marvelous tool for discovering and releasing buried feelings. Through such discoveries, many engineers found the importance of feelings of love and intimacy. These subjects gained substantially in their ability to express feelings and avoid pain through appropriate communication. The result was significant improvement in their marriage relationships and in dealing with their children.
Great gains were made by most subjects in understanding their personal dynamics, improving relationships and communication, improving their ability to function in the workplace, and achieving an enhanced sense of well-being. Many reached rewarding levels of spiritual realization, recognizing the harmony and oneness of life, and the power of love to resolve problems and conflicts. About one half those treated for alcoholism stopped drinking after a single LSD experience. Even with those not cured, there were some salutary effects. One alcoholic subject declared our treatment a failure, as he started drinking again within a week.
Before he came to us, he had staunchly refused any contact with AA. We used several instruments to assess change as a result of undergoing a psychedelic experience in the Foundation program. This test is commonly used by psychologists to assess personality patterns. It is "well-constructed, empirically-derived, and extensively validated. Typical scales of assessment are ego strength, anxiety, repression, rigidity, prejudice, ego overcontrol, neurotic over- and under- control, and evaluation of improvement.
Robert joined the Foundation research staff to aid in assessing changes in subjects undergoing the psychedelic experience. Participants were tested with the MMPI before their experience, two months after, and six months after their experience. In the historical use of the MMPI to assess improvement in various kinds of therapy, studies have reported slight or unreliable changes, or at best slight but significant changes only in cases that were judged clinically improved.
One investigator had judged that the MMPI must be insensitive to improvement, since the findings were consistently negative. Much to Robert's surprise, as he compared tests before and after the LSD experience, there were significant shifts in scales, even those held by the profession to be fairly stable. He reported that these shifts were greater than any he had previously seen.
All groups tested showed significant improvement over the pre-treatment test at the two month mark. While the most disturbed group showed some regression to their previous state at the six months test, they were still improved at this time. The improvement for the more moderate groups held up quite well at six months. These results were obtained on subjects who had undergone only a single psychedelic experience. Other aspects of the studies conducted by the Foundation research staff have been published in appropriate medical journals. These papers are listed in Appendix I.
I must comment, however, on an aspect of the work that never failed to impress me. Each morning I would come to work and park in the Menlo Park downtown parking lot which adjoined our building. As I looked up at the suite of offices that had been especially designed to conduct our work and which resided over a beauty parlor! Twice a week, two or more individuals were exploring ranges of perception and understanding beyond the comprehension of most persons in our society.
Those doing their downtown shopping had no idea of what transpired in these offices. In industry, if one should be so fortunate as to advance the state of the art with some new discovery, it is usually only a matter of months -- at most a year or two -- before competitors find a solution and offer the same development.
But despite the important new knowledge being revealed regarding the human mind, there was little curiosity in our work. I had another extremely important personal experience during this time. The circumstances were indeed odd. Back in those days, the very thought of encountering my unconscious and levels of truth would fill me with profound anxiety. But this time the circumstances were simple. My good friend Al sent me down an ampoule of LSD that had been put up by another chemical firm, and asked me to try it to see how it compared to that manufactured by Sandoz.
So I flew to the desert with our good friend Jerome. Jerome was a very large, good-looking, very personable fellow. He was great fun to be with, but a bit unscrupulous in his dealings in used machinery. He and Al had a lot in common and made a great pair. Jerome agreed to fly me over, and we drove to Death Valley in the Impala I kept at the desert airport. Since my goal was simply to evaluate the activity of the new ampoule, I was under no pressure to solve problems or deal with uncomfortable feelings.
I imbibed in the sands of the Valley floor, and when I felt the effect, Jerome drove me back to Lone Pine. Here is what happened:. But most important of all was the wisdom. I felt as though I knew everything, and only had to turn my attention to the subject to see it clearly. First I saw deeply into the meaning of life. It was a beautiful dance, and I could see it portrayed in the heavens. I saw a small figure, which represented our little self, pursuing a giant figure, which is our Real Self.
This is the dance of life and the purpose of life, for the little self to catch and join and realize the Real Self, the most fulfilling and joyous thing that can possibly happen. All the joy, all the sorrow, all the delight, all the pain and suffering were merely aspects of this wonderful dance. The crowning of all fulfillment is the achievement of this most magnificent Union when the little self merges with the Real Self. And when this happened to me, I found that I am truly God.
I am part and parcel of the whole universe, and had created it all. I only needed to look and see how I had done it. We passed the desert floor of Panamint Valley, where many rocks were strewn across the valley floor. I saw them piled up as human skulls, thousands upon thousands of them piled up in stacks. These were the skulls of those who had died without finding me. I wept for sadness. But as soon as I wept, flowers sprang up all over the world. For days I was walking on air.
But the exuberance of this state departed, and once more I was back, as Aldous Huxley has described, in "my old stinking self. It would take a number of years to discover the requirements to reach and maintain this state. As the work of the Foundation progressed, there were a few professional foundations who became interested in what we were doing, and we received some invitations to apply for grants for specific kinds of research.
However, with the advent of Timothy Leary and the enormous adverse publicity created by his activities, the scientific interest in this field evaporated. At one point, San Francisco State College responded favorably to the request of members of our Foundation staff to set up a new Institute specifically for psychedelic research. But as the rumble of unfavorable publicity raised to a roar, they no longer wished to be asso ciated with it.
James Goddard was appointed the new director of the FDA. He brought a halt to all LSD research in the nation that was involved with humans and the exploration of consciousness. This terminated the work of the Foundation.
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We subsisted another year while we submitted a new IND for the use of mescaline, but ultimately this too was denied the letters IND stand for Investigational New Drug exemption, which is the authorization that permits research to be conducted on new drugs that have not yet been approved by the FDA. Fortunately it permitted sufficient time to do our creativity study, which is considered by many to be an important addition to the body of literature on psychedelic research. So the Foundation was closed and professional interest in psychedelics lapsed into disfavor.
The key psychedelics were placed in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act of The net result of these developments was that no legitimate research was conducted with psychedelic substances for over two decades. All those interested in such compounds have been driven underground, so that the outcome of such work remains generally unknown to the public and other researchers. The closing of the Foundation was a very crippling blow to me. It was hard to accept a world that rejected research that offered so much promise for the general welfare.
It was extremely difficult to turn away from activities which were revealing solutions to humanity's most pressing problems and deepest needs. My wounds slowly healed and I adjusted to a much more ordinary life. This included divorcing my first wife, getting remarried, and reconciling to a new wife and an adopted eleven year old daughter. It also included finding a comfortable position in industry.
My new occupation was managing a small firm that produced sound filmstrips for use in the social studies curriculum of secondary schools. It would be several years before a new door opened, which would allow me to once more pursue my major interest. Inhaling a sufficient number of breaths of this mixture has the effect of dissolving the resistances holding down repressed feelings, permitting their expression.
There is usually a rapid succession of imagery, and the discharge of feelings is often accompanied by a considerable amount of insight. In our Foundation work with clients, we found that several treatments with this mixture was an excellent procedure to introduce novices to altered states of consciousness.
Many discovered unconscious contents of their mind for the first time. The procedure also cleared away a good deal of repressed material, thus freeing the subject for a smoother, more profound psychedelic experience. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. Schedule 1 items are illegal to possess, and from a practical standpoint it has been impossible to conduct research with them. While there are provisions for conducting research with Schedule I materials, they are so complex and stringent that most researchers prefer to work in other areas. Research with Schedule I materials also requires that the FDA approve the research protocol, and for many years it has been extremely difficult to obtain such approval for psychedelic-type materials.
Review boards for research protocols are generally chosen from well-known experts in the field being investigated. In the case of psychedelics this has not been the case. The members of the medical community chosen to sit in judgment on these protocols seldom have had first-hand knowledge and experience with such substances and have not been favorable to allowing research to proceed. They have announced a willingness to consider carefully prepared protocols for psychedelic research, and hopefully some projects may soon be started. What is required are qualified researchers who are sufficiently committed to the process to design satisfactory projects and patiently shepherd them through the various steps required to obtain the IND which authorizes such research to be conducted.
It may also require considerable effort to round up the necessary funds to support the work. In time, I put the closing of the Foundation behind me and accommodated to my new circumstances. The difficulties of adjusting were eased by continuing my own private investigations into the use of that exceptional mind-opening substance, LSD. After a time I began to notice a pattern in my experiences. The first few hours were very uncomfortable. Everything that was wrong with me was readily apparent. I felt worthless, and that everything I was doing was wrong.
The feelings were miserable. I would work through these feelings and begin to feel better. Then my mind would clear up and I would begin to put things in perspective. The miserable feelings would depart and I would be filled with love. My consciousness would then rise to clearer perception, and I would begin to think in larger frames of reference.
At this level I not only had a clear view of my personal functioning and relationships, but I could also perceive the evolution and dynamics of society. I could recognize social problems and their solutions. Most clear was the importance of having an intimate relationship with the Supreme Teacher. At the end of the experience I would feel euphoric and revitalized, and feel this way for one to two weeks. Then I would begin to feel bogged down again and wish to have another experience to achieve clarity. There was always some learning and improvement, and life steadily got better.
I was also considerably expanding my understanding of human dynamics, the nature of the psyche, and the spiritual levels of reality. Despite my on-going relapses into negative states, the grip of such feelings lessened and my overall state of being improved. I was delighted that Jean, whom I married in , loved to share psychedelic experiences. Jean accepted life more gracefully than I, and consequently was not as interested as I was to discover new modes of functioning.
Our relationship was the central element of most of our explorations and focus on growth. The history of this relationship is detailed in Chapter 14, Story of a Marriage. I noticed that in attending retreats or conferences with other people engaged in the spiritual search, the others were often struggling with issues that had cleared up for Jean and me through psychedelic exploration. Also, we had ceased to fuss about the distractions and irritations in life and relationships which still preoccupied many of the others. But it took a long time for me to eradicate the powerful negative feelings that often erupted.
I found it necessary to go deeply into myself to learn the real source of my ongoing discomfort, and how to resolve it. It is only in recent times that I feel that what I have learned has been integrated into real wisdom, with accompanying ongoing well-being. Change is very difficult, and it took me a long time to realize that in many respects I was not changing, but simply relying on further experiences for well-being. But despite my stubbornness and unwillingness to change, insights did impress themselves upon me, and some change came about. The year brought on a new era.
An old friend looked me up. The myth of a goddess being abducted and taken to the Underworld is probably Pre-Greek in origin. Samuel Noah Kramer , the renowned scholar of ancient Sumer , has posited that the Greek story of the abduction of Persephone may be derived from an ancient Sumerian story in which Ereshkigal , the ancient Sumerian goddess of the Underworld, is abducted by Kur , the primeval dragon of Sumerian mythology , and forced to become ruler of the Underworld against her own will.
The location of Persephone's abduction is different in each local cult. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter mentions the "plain of Nysa". Persephone is an old chthonic deity of the agricultural communities, who received the souls of the dead into the earth, and acquired powers over the fertility of the soil, over which she reigned.
The earliest depiction of a goddess who may be identified with Persephone growing out of the ground, is on a plate from the Old-Palace period in Phaistos. The goddess has a vegetable-like appearance, and she is surrounded by dancing girls between blossoming flowers.
In some forms Hades appears with his chthonic horses. The myth of the rape of Kore was derived from the idea that Hades catches the souls of the dead and then carries them with his horses into his kingdom. This idea is vague in Homer , but appears in later Greek depictions, and in Greek folklore. The cults of Persephone and Demeter in the Eleusinian mysteries and in the Thesmophoria were based on old agrarian cults.
There is evidence that some practices were derived from the religious practices of the Mycenaean age. In the Near eastern myth of the early agricultural societies, every year the fertility goddess bore the "god of the new year", who then became her lover, and died immediately in order to be reborn and face the same destiny.
Some findings from Catal Huyuk since the Neolithic age, indicate the worship of the Great Goddess accompanied by a boyish consort, who symbolizes the annual decay and return of vegetation. In Minoan Crete , the "divine child" was related to the female vegetation divinity Ariadne who died every year. The most peculiar feature of the Minoan belief in the divine, is the appearance of the goddess from above in the dance.
Dance floors have been discovered in addition to "vaulted tombs", and it seems that the dance was ecstatic. Homer memorializes the dance floor which Daedalus built for Ariadne in the remote past. Above a figure apparently floating in the air seems to be the goddess herself, appearing amid the whirling dance. Two girls dance between blossoming flowers, on each side of a similar but armless and legless figure which seems to grow out of the ground. The goddess is bordered by snake lines which give her a vegetable like appearance She has a large stylized flower turned over her head.
The resemblance with the flower-picking Persephone and her companions is compelling. On the Dresden vase, Persephone is growing out of the ground, and she is surrounded by the animal-tailed agricultural gods Silenoi. The Greeks used to give friendly names to the deities of the underworld. Cthonic Zeus was called Eubuleus , "the good counselor", and the ferryman of the river of the underworld Charon , "glad".
The labyrinth was both a winding dance-ground and, in the Greek view, a prison with the dreaded Minotaur at its centre. There is evidence of a cult in Eleusis from the Mycenean period;  however, there are not sacral finds from this period. The cult was private and there is no information about it.
As well as the names of some Greek gods in the Mycenean Greek inscriptions, also appear names of goddesses, like "the divine Mother" the mother of the gods or "the Goddess or priestess of the winds", who don't have Mycenean origin. John Chadwick believes that these were the precursor divinities of Demeter , Persephone and Poseidon. Some information can be obtained from the study of the cult of Eileithyia at Crete , and the cult of Despoina. In the cave of Amnisos at Crete , Eileithyia is related with the annual birth of the divine child and she is connected with Enesidaon The earth shaker , who is the chthonic aspect of the god Poseidon.
The goddess of nature and her companion survived in the Eleusinian cult, where the following words were uttered "Mighty Potnia bore a great sun". The name pais the divine child appears in the Mycenean inscriptions,  and the ritual indicates the transition from the old funerary practices to the Greek cremation. In Greek mythology Nysa is a mythical mountain with an unknown location. The story of her abduction by Hades against her will is traditionally referred to as the Rape of Persephone.
It is mentioned briefly in Hesiod 's Theogony ,  and told in considerable detail in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Persephone used to live far away from the other gods, a goddess within Nature herself before the days of planting seeds and nurturing plants. In the Olympian telling, the gods Hermes and Apollo had wooed Persephone; but Demeter rejected all their gifts and hid her daughter away from the company of the Olympian gods.
Persephone was gathering flowers with the Oceanids along with Artemis and Athena —the Homeric Hymn says—in a field when Hades came to abduct her, bursting through a cleft in the earth. In most versions she forbids the earth to produce, or she neglects the earth and in the depth of her despair she causes nothing to grow. Helios , the sun, who sees everything, eventually told Demeter what had happened and at length she discovered the place of her abode. Finally, Zeus, pressed by the cries of the hungry people and by the other deities who also heard their anguish, forced Hades to return Persephone.
Hades indeed complied with the request, but first he tricked her, giving her some pomegranate seeds to eat. Persephone was released by Hermes , who had been sent to retrieve her, but because she had tasted food in the underworld, she was obliged to spend a third of each year the winter months there, and the remaining part of the year with the gods above. Various local traditions place Persephone's abduction in a different location. The Sicilians , among whom her worship was probably introduced by the Corinthian and Megarian colonists, believed that Hades found her in the meadows near Enna , and that a well arose on the spot where he descended with her into the lower world.
The Cretans thought that their own island had been the scene of the rape, and the Eleusinians mentioned the Nysian plain in Boeotia, and said that Persephone had descended with Hades into the lower world at the entrance of the western Oceanus. Later accounts place the rape in Attica , near Athens , or near Eleusis. The Homeric hymn mentions the Nysion or Mysion which was probably a mythical place. The location of this mythical place may simply be a convention to show that a magically distant chthonic land of myth was intended in the remote past.
Eubuleus was feeding his pigs at the opening to the underworld when Persephone was abducted by Plouton. His swine were swallowed by the earth along with her, and the myth is an etiology for the relation of pigs with the ancient rites in Thesmophoria ,  and in Eleusis. In the hymn, Persephone returns and she is reunited with her mother near Eleusis. Demeter as she has been promised established her mysteries orgies when the Eleusinians built for her a temple near the spring of Callichorus. These were awful mysteries which were not allowed to be uttered. The uninitiated would spend a miserable existence in the gloomy space of Hades after death.
In some versions, Ascalaphus informed the other deities that Persephone had eaten the pomegranate seeds. When Demeter and her daughter were reunited, the Earth flourished with vegetation and color, but for some months each year, when Persephone returned to the underworld, the earth once again became a barren realm. This is an origin story to explain the seasons.
In an earlier version, Hecate rescued Persephone. On an Attic red-figured bell krater of c. The 10th-century Byzantine encyclopedia Suda introduces a goddess of a blessed afterlife assured to Orphic mystery initiates. This Macaria is asserted to be the daughter of Hades, but no mother is mentioned. In the myth Pluto abducts Persephone to be his wife and the queen of his realm. Nilsson believes that the original cult of Ploutos or Pluto in Eleusis was similar with the Minoan cult of the "divine child", who died in order to be reborn.
The child was abandoned by his mother and then it was brought up by the powers of nature. Similar myths appear in the cults of Hyakinthos Amyklai , Erichthonios Athens , and later in the cult of Dionysos. Pluto Ploutos represents the wealth of the grain that was stored in underground silos or ceramic jars pithoi , during summer months. Similar subterranean pithoi were used in ancient times for burials and Pluto is fused with Hades , the King of the realm of the dead. During summer months, the Greek grain-Maiden Kore is lying in the grain of the underground silos in the realm of Hades, and she is fused with Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld.
At the beginning of the autumn, when the seeds of the old crop are laid on the fields, she ascends and is reunited with her mother Demeter , for at that time the old crop and the new meet each other. For the initiated, this union was the symbol of the eternity of human life that flows from the generations which spring from each other.
The primitive myths of isolated Arcadia seem to be related to the first Greek-speaking people who came from the north-east during the bronze age. Despoina the mistress , the goddess of the Arcadian mysteries, is the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon Hippios horse , who represents the river spirit of the underworld that appears as a horse as often happens in northern-European folklore. He pursues the mare-Demeter and from the union she bears the horse Arion and a daughter who originally had the form or the shape of a mare.
The two goddesses were not clearly separated and they were closely connected with the springs and the animals. They were related with the god of rivers and springs; Poseidon and especially with Artemis , the Mistress of the Animals who was the first nymph. They are the two Great Goddesses of the Arcadian cults, and evidently they come from a more primitive religion. Persephone held an ancient role as the dread queen of the Underworld, within which tradition it was forbidden to speak her name.
This tradition comes from her conflation with the very old chthonic divinity Despoina the mistress , whose real name could not be revealed to anyone except those initiated to her mysteries. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the shades, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead, along with her husband Hades. Her central myth served as the context for the secret rites of regeneration at Eleusis ,  which promised immortality to initiates.
Persephone was worshipped along with her mother Demeter and in the same mysteries. Her cults included agrarian magic, dancing, and rituals. The priests used special vessels and holy symbols, and the people participated with rhymes. In Eleusis there is evidence of sacred laws and other inscriptions. The Cult of Demeter and the Maiden is found at Attica , in the main festivals Thesmophoria and Eleusinian mysteries and in a lot of local cults. These festivals were almost always celebrated at the autumn sowing, and at full-moon according to the Greek tradition.
In some local cults the feasts were dedicated to Demeter. Thesmophoria , were celebrated in Athens , and the festival was widely spread in Greece. This was a festival of secret women-only rituals connected with marriage customs and commemorated the third of the year, in the month Pyanepsion , when Kore was abducted and Demeter abstained from her role as goddess of harvest and growth. The ceremony involved sinking sacrifices into the earth by night and retrieving the decaying remains of pigs that had been placed in the megara of Demeter trenches and pits or natural clefts in rock , the previous year.
These were placed on altars, mixed with seeds, then planted. The festival was celebrated over three days. The first was the "way up" to the sacred space, the second, the day of feasting when they ate pomegranate seeds and the third was a meat feast in celebration of Kalligeneia a goddess of beautiful birth.
Zeus penetrated the mysteries as Zeus - Eubuleus  which is an euphemistical name of Hades Chthonios Zeus. His swine were swallowed by the earth along with her. The Eleusinian mysteries was a festival celebrated at the autumn sowing in the city of Eleusis. Inscriptions refer to "the Goddesses" accompanied by the agricultural god Triptolemos probably son of Ge and Oceanus ,  and "the God and the Goddess" Persephone and Plouton accompanied by Eubuleus who probably led the way back from the underworld.
The main theme was the ascent of Persephone and the reunion with her mother Demeter.