There it sat, the source of my latest existential crisis (yet again! yet again!)—a web page read no doubt by far more people than this blog and my book, linked to a website which should know better. The “it” was a lengthy rhetorical piece on the Void, At least, the piece said it was about the Void, though it was not, at least not in any sense in which people who actually know the Void use the term. [Read more…] about Reconciliation #1: What the Void is not
The headline of a feature article in The New Yorker (February 5, 1915) reports with some breathlessness that after several years of university investigation, “Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.”
The less breathless author of the excellent and lengthy article, journalist Michael Pollan, describes the history of psychedelic research and reports on new clinical trials at New York University in which “psilocybin—the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms—was being administered to cancer patients in an effort to relieve their anxiety and ‘existential distress.’” One participant had applied to the study after reading that under the influence of the hallucinogen, “individuals transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance.” (That sounds oddly familiar…do you hear it?) [Read more…] about Psychedelics return, find us living in silos
Toma is a reader of this blog who keeps asking unanswerable questions…to which I do my best to provide responses. Just the other day he wrote, “What is the purpose of life?” and I answered, “I’ll have to think about whether that even feels do-able.”
Frankly, I thought coming up with a reasonable response was unlikely to be do-able at all. But that was before Oliver Sacks learned he has terminal cancer. [Read more…] about What is the purpose of life?
I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that Alex Malarkey’s story was all made up. And yet, that’s the news this week. Here is the NPR lead:
“Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy’s story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.” [Read more…] about The “Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine”…and dilemma
Months have gone by since my last post. Months, since I confidently promised a conclusion to my answer to Tomas’s question, “Are you afraid of death”? It’s been months.
People wonder (with reason) whether anyone who has had a distressing NDE will be terribly afraid of death. Because the usual response is an uncompromising “yes,” I was really, seriously trying to figure out my answer. In the first responding post I talked about my realization that there are ways in which we are all afraid, because we’re hardwired to repel death. In the second part I went over why I am not afraid of the hell that most people mean when they ask the question, “Are you afraid of death?” Part three was to be my personal answer. I said it would have something to do with Carl Jung. But it’s been months. Why? [Read more…] about “Are you afraid of death?”, Part 3
Tomas and some others asked me, “Are you afraid of death?”
The opening of my response (last week’s post, the one below this one): “Some yes.”
This week: “Most no”
What does that mean, “Most no?”
Bear with me, please, because I’m thinking on paper here. I think what “Most no” means is that I’m probably not afraid of what most people are afraid of when we think of death. At least in Western societies, most people are afraid of hell, or at least of punishment. That is what at least 1,700 years of theology have led to. [Read more…] about The “Are you afraid of death?” question, Part 2