Living in a Fugue (tecknovore) wrote in expansion,
Living in a Fugue

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Gratuitous Grace

"Not all young people are looking for money and power.  Some are looking for a happiness and satisfaction which is of the spiritual world, not the materialistic world.  They are looking, but there are not sanctioned paths. 

Open your eyes!  The doors of perception must be opened.  That means these young people must learn by their own experience, to see the world as it was before human beings were on this planet.  That is the real problem today, that people live in towns and cities, where everything is dead.  This material world, made by humans, is a dead world, and will disappear and die.  I would tell the young people to go out into the countryside, go to the meadow, go to the garden, go to the woods.  This is a world of nature to which we belong, absolutely.  It is the circle of life, of which we are an integral part.  Open your eyes, and see the browns and greens of the earth, and the light which is the essence of nature.  The young need to become aware of this circle of life, and realize that it is possible to experience the beauty and deep meaning which is at the core of our relation to nature. 

It is important to have the experience directly...This is why the different forms of religion are no longer adequate.  They are simply words, words, words, without the direct experience of what it is the words represent.  We are now at a phase of human development where we have accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge through scientific research in the material world.  This is very important knowledge, but it must be integrated.  What science has brought to light is true, absolutely true.  But this is only one part, only one side of our existence, that of the natural world.

We must have the experience directly.  And the experience occurs only by opening the mind, and opening all of our senses.  Those doors of perception must be cleansed.  And if the experience does not come spontaneously, on its own, then we may make use of what Huxley calls a gratuitous grace.  This may take the form of psychedelic drugs, or perhaps without drugs through a discipline like yoga.  But what is of greatest importance is that we have personal experience.  Not words, not beliefs, but experience." - Albert Hoffman in a 1996 interview with Charles Grob. 

This is an excerpt from Hallucinogens: a reader edited by Dr. Charles Grob.   I think this is a really well formed view of reality.  He describes the sublimity of nature and the possibility of transcendant experiences from it beautifully, yet he still leaves room for science.  His admonition for direct experience is so refreshingly gnostic.  I am very glad to have had my own 'gratuitous grace' so that I can even grasp the intent of what he is trying to convey.  I can say that had I not been so graced the above passage would appear to be just as it seems, words.   Know what I mean?

If you haven't seen the movie about Albert's most famous chemical discovery, Hoffman's Problem Child, you should.  It has lots of priceless footage of Hoffman, Metzner, Osmond, Mrs. Huxley, and some of the most refreshing attitudes towards the responsible/spiritual/ritualized use of psychoactives that you'll likely see on film.  Too bad there wasn't more effort to video document important figures in the field of psychonautics before they die until relatively recently.   I would have loved a documentary centered around interviews of John Lilly in his last years like the one they did for Jaques Derrida. 

Here's a link to the complete online version of Albert's most famous book.

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