What if "direct experience" is something defined and made desirable by
a Western ideology that influences us and that shapes our goals before we book a plane ticket?
What if a seemingly unique "call" to "follow our bliss" (Joseph Cambbell) may not be a message from Ultimate Reality, but arises from mundane social influences?
Social influences we are unaware of, that trigger our yearnings and longings,
that implanted in us in the form of "presuppositions
" - assumptions received as given, so much so that they are often invisible to us - unless we are trained to identify them.
In much of the seeker's scene, "direct experience" is valued.
How many of us
find spiritual mentors who advise us, as part of our preparation that we ought to do a differnt kind purging - nt with drugs but to to turn around and ask whether Joseph Campbell and Jung speak to us because we already share their philosophical stance? That that is why it "calls" to us.
That this is from social and cultural influences we do not know affect us, this accounting for the eerie "magical" effect.
At least ask this before intruding on the privacy of tribes struggling to preserve their privacy.
In this essay, "Buddhist Romanticism" Buddhist monk examines how Westerners filtered their encounter with the various Buddhisms through presuppositions
derived from Western Romanticism.
As we read this essay, ask how much of this does not match up with Joseph Campbell's approach?
Buddhist Romanticism -Thanassaro Bhikku.Buddhist Romanticism
Western Romanticism puts the emphasis on the individual, and individual fulfullment through self expression
Bhikku, confines this examination to the Western encounter with the Buddhisms.
Corboy suggests pondering the implications of applying the Western Romantic approach to seeking authenticity and self fulfillment from native american sources.
Most of the time, Romantic notions of self development and self fulfillment
call for crossing boundaries, meeting challenges.
How often do Western seekers report that they gained wisdom by discovering
some tribal boundaries were such that an outsider gains more wisdom by refusing to violate those boundaries than by imposing oneself?
We do not hear many accounts in which self fulfillment might arise through
learning accepting one's status as an outsider?
By discovering that sincerity does not give outsiders a free pass to impose ourselves upon a group protecting its ceremonies from intrusion.
What if a person mistakes poignant urgency and warm fuzzy feelings for 'sincerity' and 'good intentions.?
What if the original custodians of healing plants had and have a world view differentt from western romantic self fulfillment?
Some things may not be transferable across cultures.
Let us examine a few points. Here are some hunches. Let us examine them.
Western Romanticism does not stabilize traditional societies, nor does it change those societies in slow and manageable ways.
Western Romanticism has destabilized traditional societies and, combined with capitalism, has done so rapidly. The most recent spin off from Western Romanticism was the hippie popularization of psychedelics.
Invasions by drug seeking hippies and money hungry opportunists has disrupted the cultures which had custody of ayahuasca, peyote etc.
Without the technology which created accessible forms of air travel to distant places, fewer hippies and psychedelicists would have reached Asia and North Africa.
And because of affordable automobiles and gasoline, this technology enabled large number of experience hungry seekers to reach territories in North and South America and invade the homelands of those who had custody of healing plants.
Western Romanticism was a big impetus to the revolutions - America, France, Haiti, the Central American countries.
Revolutions disrupt the traditional societies. When romanticism combines with capitalism, traditional art, cultural patterns are ruined by creating tourist industries, whether large scale (cruise ships that contaminate the ocean)
and tourist invasions of people's home lives in the quest for authenticity.
What if the lived experience of the original custodians and users of ayahausca had and have a world view and self/other view that differs from that of the seeker who is Western Romantic
Corboy suggests that a danger in the Western Romantic notion of self development self fulfillment is that on our way to overcome isolation and estrangement,
we might, to get special experiences, regard massage methods, dance methods, chant methods and psychedelic plants on an instrumental basis -- regard and use them as tools--that Plant X is here for my benefit.
And that a Western Romantic might continue to see ayahuasca as existing for his or her fulfillment,of the original custodians, despite all the exalted chatter about 'spirits".
If you actually believe in spirits, has it occurred to you that such spirits might not exist for your benefit?
Perhaps, just perhaps the original custodians of ayahuasca have a world view quite different from Western Romanticism? What if a member of ayahuasca's custodial peoples has a different experience of self and other -- one that might not even be self and other?
The author of the essay from which the following material is quoted is advising university students to re-examine terms taken for granted, terms such as "religion".
Travelers and seekers might also consider it valuable to examine whether such terms as "spirituality" might also be based on unexamined assumptions -- assumptions that might tempt us to ignore tribal people's requests that we not intrude upon their rituals or grab hold of their plants.
(Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion, 2005)
[quoted from the introduction to the 2005 edition]
Students on many courses become fretful when studying theory and method.
However, the more complex the subject, the more important such areas become. When
that subject is one as full of sensitivities, presuppositions and prejudices as the study of religion is, then it is essential that, from the outset, the student is alerted to debates and doubts and that key issues, motives, aims and beliefs are foregrounded.
There have been numerous debates about definitions and presuppositions in
the study of religion. Many scholars have questioned whether there is any such
'thing' as religion, there are only the religions. But some have gone further and questioned the value of the term 'religion' at all.
In various languages, in Sanskrit for example, there is no word for 'religion'. Is 'religion' a Western construct imposed on various cultures as a part of intellectual imperialism? It has been said that 'words mean what
we want them to'. My own opinion is that the word 'religion' is useful, but should
be used with caution.
The ease of travel and large migrations to and from many countries have resulted
in 'globalization', the interaction of cultures at a global level. 'The other' is encountered more often, more closely and by more people than ever before. Whereas some 'religions' were remote and exotic now they are part of the local scenery for many of us.
Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/2016 11:42PM by corboy.