Q: How have I bullshitted my way into to the current mess that is my life?
This is a metaphysical question. Most people rely on the sphere of mundane understanding to answer it. Here, I will rely on the modern analog of Calvin’s sensus divinus: the access granted by psychedelics.
The psychedelics family of molecules modify brain function and
- change the basic orientation of consciousness
- cancel the basic axioms of our worldview
- transform the very awareness of self, sense, feeling, and perception
- and (with luck) make us aware that “self” is driven by samskaras and feelings and not by the speaking module.
Psychedelics are helpful for getting insight into what constitutes and drives meaning-making. Psychedelic experiences grant us direct access to our cognitive meaning-making machinery by forcing us into a new paradigm.
The psychedelic insight evokes certain necessary questions:
Q: How is normal consciousness different from the experience I am having right now? What have these features of psychedelic consciousness replaced or negated? What are things like, as a coherent whole, after this negation?
By giving me access to points of difference, this insight allows me to compare-reflect-abstract new categories about experience. By comparing multiple (different) orientations, then reflecting on what they have in common, and finally abstracting from this difference, I produce a new concept and so come closer to understanding:
Q: How does consciousness emerge out of its lack inside the current non-normal experience? What needs to be added?
To explain something is to be able to bring it into existence from nothing, in the imagination. The act of construction presupposes a lack.
Q: How does consciousness emerge out of its lack inside the Salvia experience?
What we find is that consciousness emerges for consciousness whenever we epistemically intend—that is, whenever we point our awareness as sustained attention towards some presence. With epistemic intentionality arises the ability to identify perduring forms. (Or, rather, Platonic forms need the passing of time and constructive accumulation of apprehension in order for the subject to projectively instantiate them.) The consciousness of time itself is actually the intentional reconstruction of the “form” of the flow itself as an imaginary one-dimensional degree of freedom.
The object-making cognitive act is preceded by choice. And prior to choice? What is the sufficient reason for choosing this over that, now? Be honest. The truth is: In the beginning, clinging.
But we have still not gone far enough. What provokes clinging? Clinging arises from craving, which is the relation that arises from feeling. Feeling is the result of contact between proto-subject-consciousness and something outer to this—a stimulus. Contact arises inside the six sense media. There are six kinds of contact-content: visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and imagination-stimulating (mental). These, in turn, rest on the information processing inside some negentropic cell colony. Clinging is driven by survival—by biological negentropy.
Survival, feeling, craving, clinging—and then a process of becoming is initiated.
When I was in high school Miami I attended a party, took LSD and Percocet, and in the resultant state was able to (with some effort) hallucinate something that perdured. I lay on the floor in my sleeping bag and watched palm fronds undulate in the breeze. From this random canvas of shadows I was able to concoct a sinister cocktail-party orgy. Once the figures were there, they stayed there and only changed their bodily positions. That is, they didn’t continually go out of existence like a series of random frond shadow patterns. The bodies of the people remained constant. Clinging found and directed a pattern and also made a substrate that could last throughout the series of different contents. Intentionality created the unity of synthesis, but clinging drove the intentionality. Instead of a series of ontologically different phantasms, there was a motion picture of abiding bodies. The flow of contents became mere change of shape, position, and motion. Substance was born from desire—my desire to watch the orgy continue.
Clinging is the substance-maker. Clinging is the matrix-solidifier.