Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m super conflicted about the rise of popular atheism over the last ten years or so. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. I truly respect the way people like Richard Dawkins (and the late Christopher Hitchens) challenge the influence of the world’s dominant religions publically. I love Bill Maher and found his movie Religulous quite amusing for the most part. This critical dialogue is incredibly important because I got news for you, religion is still the great fundamental bamboozle driving the war on drugs and terror. I think organized religion can be just as nuts as these guys do. I guess I just also see that it can also be incredibly and most boringly normal. A lot of good things come out of it as well, a sense of community, drug rehabilitation, charity work, etc.
Truth be told, the majority of people I’ve known or hung out with for most of my life have basically considered themselves atheists. It’s become almost a badge of pride for so many teenagers and young people, but I got news for you, it isn’t anything new or subversive. Kind of conformist in all honestly, just like religion. Try being an Occultist, everyone thinks you’re completely batshit. You are and always will be an outsider. People have absolutely no problem insulting your spiritual beliefs publically, so most of the time you don’t even bring it up. Seriously, directly insulting people’s supposed ‘new age’ or mystical practices is seen as absolutely A-OK in pop culture and even in the work place, to this day. I’ve seen it first hand and it’s pretty much why I don’t talk about my writing at my job, ever. Truthfully, I don’t talk about my magickal practice in 99.9% of the conversations I have in actual life (but I do on Facebook, friend me).
The reason is obvious. It’s pointless. People know so little about even basic spiritual shit it’s mind boggling. And here’s where I get weird. You know how I define spirituality? By matters of the spirit. Dreams, hallucinations, etheogen rituals, astral projection encounters, supposed alien contact? Yeah, that’s spirituality to me. Stuff that takes your consciousness out of the material realm and into the realm of the soul. Crazy way of looking at it I know. And that’s the problem I have with atheism. I’ve never known an atheist who knows anything about this sort of thing or has experimented with it at all, outside of maybe trying mushrooms once or twice. But they all have strong opinions as to why they don’t have to. Basically, if that kind of thing was important, our society would have figured it out by now. That’s essentially the argument you get (trust me, I had many of these drunken debates before I turned like 25 and realized how pointless it is).
Funny story on that front, I used to sing (yell) in a metaphysical rant metal band. All of the lyrics in the project were essentially about the spiritual ignorance of humanity, and a lot were about how this ignorance was reflected through me, which I don’t think most people got. No, I wasn’t necessarily ranting bout my how stupid people are, I was ranting about how stupid I am because I’m a person. Actually when looking back, a lot of it had to do with my own non-acceptance of these non-physical realities which is something I didn’t even understand at the time. Anywho, you know who really didn’t get what I was doing? All the other guys in the band. We hung out and drank incredibly heavily together for 4 straight years, and we practiced 3 times a week so that meant a lot of debauched tomfoolery. Amazingly, we sometimes talked about things other than our dicks, but despite being in a band whose lyricist was espousing ideas completely foreign to them, nobody once bothered to read a single book I recommended them so they’d get hip. Then it got even more peculiar because as creative tension began to mount in the project, near the band’s demise, I increasingly caught shit for writing lyrics that “made no sense”. Pretty much sums up my experience with most atheists I’ve known. That song doesn’t make any sense? Yeah, actually it does and it’s fairly coherent I must say, did you read that Rick Strassman book about DMT I leant you 2 years ago? No? Yeah, well, you just answered your question as to why that song doesn’t make any sense to you.
The Occult game’s all about taking an active role in programming your own brain. That’s what a lot of it has to do with when you get right down to brass tacks. Very practical knowledge set in a society that’s constantly trying to do this for you for the benefit of a daemonic profit margin. When a lot of Christians brag about how they can bring you peace and inner harmony, I’m like, well yeah, I’m not saying what you’re doing doesn’t work. You’re taking something as infinitely complicated as the spirit realm, which is a billion times more intricate than the perceived physical universe and saying, I’m going to replace that complexity with simplicity in my own world. The answer to every possible spiritual inquiry is Jesus. Sort of like giving yourself a philosophical lobotomy.
But it’s a bit more nuanced than that. Most Christians believe that there is an afterlife and that their actions here are going to determine what that’s going to be like for them. This is where I can step in as an Occultist and say, yeah, pretty much what I’ve been shown in a number of visionary states, which is something that threw me for quite a loop. And that’s where Christianity (and you could sub in almost any other monotheistic practice) gets balls out hilarious. Y’all believe in shamanism. Your entire belief system is based around it, but barely any of you know anything about these things you believe in so dearly. You’ve completely lost track of your faith’s origins, and because of that you sort of made it illegal. Jesus was whacked out of his skull when he was talking to Satan in the desert. That’s all I’m saying.
But despite the potent Luciferian humor involved with this whole charade, I have to concede that at least this openness to the possibility of an afterlife is more than most atheists I’ve known can offer. To them, somehow consciousness devolves into nothingness upon death, even though that’s a concept they can never fully flesh out. Isn’t nothing in fact something? Describe it. Yep, just as nebulous as God. The truth is, if I played in a band with Christians, they’d probably read a book I recommended to them about spirituality. Not the right wing fringe nut jobs types, just you know, normal Christian folk. I went to church every Sunday until I was 16. Abortion being bad, hating gays, Muslims, or voting Republican never came up once. We just, read the Bible and I tried to run some weak ass tween game on the cute girls in the parish, which I had no idea how to do at the time.
What appeals to people so much about both atheism and Christianity is that they’re incredibly simple thought modalities that give people the comfortable certainty they crave. For Christians, it’s often an exact set of sexual rules that’ll get you into the higher realms (so creepy). For atheists, it’s even simpler. Nothing. Don’t have to think about spirituality, because it’s not a thing. There is no afterlife. See what I mean, actually quite a bit simpler way of looking at it than the Christians they love to deride. Rather than putting your faith in an unknown God, put your faith in the supreme intelligence of the human species. Man, I can’t think of anything dumber than that.
Here’s why this way of thinking is so tragically foolish: It’s a fact that the human brain can do a bunch of absolutely weird shit that we intentionally program it not to do. Wait, that’s not a fact? Yeah, I know we act like it isn’t but it absolutely is. Have you read anything about LSD? How about DMT? How about schizophrenia? Lucid dreaming? See what I mean, you can’t say our brains can’t do this (if you must insist it’s our brains). What you’re truly saying is, I don’t think there’s any value in any of that exotic consciousness stuff. We sure as hell don’t study it much (this is starting to change). Seems a bit superstitious and completely irrational to me, and I’m looking at both camps, Christians and atheists. One thing I can say and will a million times before I die I’m sure, is that I got a college degree in psychology and sat through over a decade’s worth of church services and I never heard anyone mention a near death experience once. The only reason I know anything about it is because my Mom had one and she told us about it as kids.
While you’re never going to win any sort of argument with an atheist about the reality of a spiritual dimension, what’s going to get increasingly difficult for them to argue is that there is no value in powerful inward-freak-out-mindgasm experiences. Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of traits that have been reported in people who come back from Near Death Experiences (link to whole article here).
1. An amazing ability to live in the present. Most of us live in the two places where nothing ever happens: the past and the future. But the present is all we have. Every moment is a microcosm of the macrocosm. How you’re doing whatever you’re doing right now is probably how you do everything.
2. An abiding sense of deep confidence. The untransformed self is inherently insecure and destabilized. The true Self finds a strong and lasting confidence – a sense that things are all right – without this being based on your external circumstances at all. You don’t know where the feeling comes from. It’s just there.
3. An immense decreased interest in material possessions. The Self knows that happiness doesn’t lie in another trip to the mall, or a bigger house, or any external attainment.
4. Spirituality becomes central and important. People know for certain the reality of the spiritual world.
5. A much higher natural compassion – which extends to almost everything. There’s a deep gratitude for everything. A forgiveness for everything.
That’s just the top five. Gee, I don’t think any of that would come in handy in an insanely materialistic society where a small group of privileged war mongering creeps are running everything into the ground. Wonder why this research is so hard to get done and taken seriously? You bought into the charade hook, line, and sinker atheists.
Here’s the thing, there is absolutely no reason that I can see as to why every single person can’t have a near death experience every single day of their lives. We know this has something to do with a release of DMT to the brain. We should then easily be able to study dying people neurologically and re-produce these exact states at will. No problem right? Seems like the easiest thing in the universe to accomplish with technology these days. Why isn’t this happening? Whatever happened to neuro-theology? Our society’s dominant spiritual players are a bunch of superstitious pussies, from both the scientific and the religious worlds, that’s what happened.
To this day, no one in the academic world will purport to fully understand even basic shit about spirituality like what dreams are. How simple is that? We’ve never figured it out. There is a dominant materialist theory that pervades most of our behavior. We’re taught essentially: nothing to see there, it’s just meaningless replays of your day to help you survive the great cold of the night. This is just a theory, and the thing about it is, it’s in direct conflict with the shamanic perspective which tells you that dreams are communiqué from the other side, which is ultimately what I’ve found through personal experience. Don’t believe me? Try living your life as if this is true and see what happens (or friend me on Facebook and see how odd it can get when you do).
On that note, one last little anecdote. Several years ago I was flipping channels and caught Christopher Hitches on some late night talk show (Larry King I think). I liked a lot of what he was saying about you know, how religion is bullshit, but was obviously at odds with a great deal of it as well. I went to bed directly after the show and fast found myself in a potent dream state. Christopher and I were climbing two parallel ladders and he was ahead of me. We kept climbing through the skies until we reached a large white barrier to the heavens. He looked at it a bit, gave up and decided to climb back down. He sort of told me something to the effect of, “well I guess that was pointless” as he passed by me on his way, as I was just then ascending to the top. I saw the same barrier he did, thought for a second. Then I punched a hole in it, popped my head through and took a look around. Totally meaningless, right?