The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...

  • 28 Replies
  • 835 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 854
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« on: January 10, 2019, 05:14:32 am »
Opening Note: See What do we know about the risks of psychedelics? & free documentary What's in My Baggie? There is an incredible danger in thinking you can just find good psychedelics via illegal markets, I can say that from personal experience as I was attacked by a friend who thought LSD could cure his depression.

The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred North Whitehead and the Psychedelic Mode of Perception

Quote
Eternal Objects are Whitehead’s variant of Plato’s Forms, of Russell’s Universals, and of Santayana’s Essences. They are every potential form of mentality: ideas (numbers, classes, etc.), emotions (fear, joy, etc.), sensations (colours, tastes, etc.), and other human and inhuman forms. One must be careful to distinguish these potential forms of mentality from actual forms of mentality.  The latter exist in time as the subjective phases of an organism, for instance as the thoughts we harbour during the day. The former, the Eternal Objects, can exist in time when they so ingress into actuality; but they mostly subsist out of time—eternally—in their unprehended totality.

Viewed thus the objects of our mentality are eternal, though our mentality is temporal. As the reality of such metaphysical objects may seem dubious to many, let us take an example to demonstrate the reasoning. Consider the sensation whiteness as an Eternal Object, or as a Universal as Whitehead’s student, collaborator and friend Bertrand Russell calls such objects.

Quote
Thus whiteness, colours, and all other objects of mentality are deemed metaphysical. Let us delve into the physical to examine the point. A man is seeing a patch of white. Where is this whiteness?

(1) We cannot say it is in the physical object as such, say a cloud. Here there exist the molecules constituting the cloud, which themselves are not white (akin to Berkeley’s emphasis[iv]).

(2) Further we cannot say that whiteness is in the certain reflected electromagnetic wave as

    (a) the wave without a perceiver will not be white,
    (b) the same wave can be perceived as different colours (inverted spectrum, synaesthesia), and
    (c) the same perceived colour can have different waves (metamerism).

(3) The whiteness is not actually in the anatomy of the percipient nor in its functioning. It is not in the eyes, nerves, brain: within the skull pervades darkness. The brain does not turn white when intuiting whiteness, as it does not turn triangular when intuiting a triangle.

(4) Though the object that is whiteness is correlated with activity in the brain, with the electromagnetic light wave, and with the cloud, this correlate is not thereby determined as identical to any of these. Whiteness is neither an emergent property of the brain, as such a notion commits the Emergence Category Mistake,[v] erroneously presupposing brute emergence and an analogy between nature’s otherwise physical-to-physical acts of emergence (e.g. liquidity from molecules) and a purported physical-to-mental emergence. Emergence is the magic with which materialism is spellbound.

 (5) Whiteness is thus not identical (1—–3) to its various correlates, it is not an emergent property (4) of those subvenient correlates, but nor is it simply the abstracted common feature of white objects as this would entail that those objects had the whiteness from which one could abstract it as such.

Quote
The realm in which all Eternal Objects subsist is named by Whitehead the Primordial Nature of God. This is the transcendent aspect of Whitehead’s deity, an insentient dimension as sentience requires the ingression of the Eternal Objects into physical temporal actuality to be objects of prehension. As physical organisms, the incessant selection of Eternal Objects is conditioned by our physical needs, and thus only a fraction are positively prehended, the rest rejected through negative prehensions, to use Whitehead’s terminology. It is my contention that these negative prehensions can be eliminated in degree by the impairment of practical physiological functioning via the intake of psychedelic chemicals. Such elimination entails the integration, nay elevation, of one’s consciousness into the primordial nature of this god: apotheosis. This is a mysticism without mystical groundings.

Quote
Hence, in the psychedelic mode of perception we push our identity with Pan through our integrated panentheism and panexperientialism. We thereby touch the eternal and the present, but what of the past? The past is not actual, potential but neither is it nothing. For Whitehead, all actualities pass into objective immortality: they are no longer subjectivities but their physical and mental forms enter into the composition of actual entities and their nexūs, forms of togetherness.

All perception involves perception of the past, memory. But again, those aspects commonly selected are those that are conducive to the practicalities of the organism. Furthermore, a memory is immortalized as an Eternal Object in the empyrean realm that is Pan. Thus these objects are never absolutely lost. Analogous to the emancipation from transmutation offered in lateral integration, the psychedelic mode of perception can allow for a backward integration. This is part of the basis for contemporary studies into the value of psychedelic therapy.

Quote
The psychedelic mode of perception allows for a three-dimensional integration of experience: the vertical dimension upward to primordial Pan and downward into endogenous primitive pieces of perception, understood through panexperientialism. The lateral dimension is that along which we can integrate sideward into the other exogenous entities constituting our environment. The temporal dimension can push us backward to memories otherwise lost, and fragmentarily forward in terms of glimpses of future types of sentience. These dimensions offer a panopticon of Pan, nature Himself—experiences of nature otherwise masked by our practical needs. Psychedelic perception is the essence of great experience, ultimately the object of philosophy itself...

Health Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12NfnxYU5ZSur-RahRNI-bNMnTjxE12vyGWmY46Xq2h0/edit

Register family with 911 services. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, legal aid, etc.

TaoHorror

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Posts: 993
  • Blueberry Psûkhe Sorcerer
    • View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 11:01:30 pm »
I'm not sure if it's because I'm instinctively anti-drugs, but he had me going for a while thinking this stuff could be true - it's coherent at least and would be interesting to see counter arguments ( none come to mind at the moment - it's too new to me to authentically analyze, still digesting ). But I think he loses me about psychedelics - I've taken them, imho, they are derangements, not elevations/enhancements. But that's my personal experience opinion, I've not studied them professionally/scientifically ( could've been "bad shit" I got, but I've taken them 4 times in my younger life ). But up to that point I was wow'd  :)

Everything has a thread to pull - "how" does the person/brain/other bring in that Eternal Object temporally, what is the mechanism that achieves that.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 11:03:23 pm by TaoHorror »
May your death be soon, slow and painful

sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 854
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 11:45:05 pm »
The psychedelic thing is hard for me too as per my aforementioned experience.

OTOH...how can there be a philosophy of mind that isn't taking such experiences into account? But then you get into the question of how many experiences the philosopher has to undergo before they can speak about consciousness...
Health Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12NfnxYU5ZSur-RahRNI-bNMnTjxE12vyGWmY46Xq2h0/edit

Register family with 911 services. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, legal aid, etc.

TaoHorror

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Posts: 993
  • Blueberry Psûkhe Sorcerer
    • View Profile
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 03:10:19 am »
The psychedelic thing is hard for me too as per my aforementioned experience.

OTOH...how can there be a philosophy of mind that isn't taking such experiences into account? But then you get into the question of how many experiences the philosopher has to undergo before they can speak about consciousness...

Understood - not saying it shouldn't be a consideration, just disagreeing with his assessment. But again, I'm going on personal experience, so not objective - my physiology is unique, as are all of us, so even if his point is valid, it may not be valid for me ( being an exception/outlier ). Drugs pose a threat to me personally, outside of impact on my life - I typically suffer the harsher side effects, like I don't even enjoy drinking, I have to take the world's word that it's pleasurable as it's never been for me. ( Digressing ), it's funny as many many times when I try to explain I get blank stares like it's unbelievable, so now I white-lie ( hope that phrase doesn't have racist origins ) and tell people I'm allergic.
May your death be soon, slow and painful

sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 854
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2019, 05:15:37 am »
The psychedelic thing is hard for me too as per my aforementioned experience.

OTOH...how can there be a philosophy of mind that isn't taking such experiences into account? But then you get into the question of how many experiences the philosopher has to undergo before they can speak about consciousness...

Understood - not saying it shouldn't be a consideration, just disagreeing with his assessment. But again, I'm going on personal experience, so not objective - my physiology is unique, as are all of us, so even if his point is valid, it may not be valid for me ( being an exception/outlier ). Drugs pose a threat to me personally, outside of impact on my life - I typically suffer the harsher side effects, like I don't even enjoy drinking, I have to take the world's word that it's pleasurable as it's never been for me. ( Digressing ), it's funny as many many times when I try to explain I get blank stares like it's unbelievable, so now I white-lie ( hope that phrase doesn't have racist origins ) and tell people I'm allergic.

It is weird how people react when you say you don't drink - it makes them oddly uncomfortable.

I rarely drink, and only once or twice would I say I got close to drunk but I promptly fell asleep anyway.

I doubt I'll ever do psychedelics, but I guess I wonder what exactly makes one a professional philosopher of mind, assumed to have a certain expertise, if not collecting an array of varied states of consciousness? (This doesn't have to involve drugs of course, given there's currently no safe legal way to do psychedelics outside of limited studies.)

It seems to me, perhaps unfairly given Western philosophy seems to defer to Science, that anyone can philosophize on consciousness if reading some stuff is all it takes.
Health Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12NfnxYU5ZSur-RahRNI-bNMnTjxE12vyGWmY46Xq2h0/edit

Register family with 911 services. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, legal aid, etc.

themerchant

  • *
  • The Afflicted Few
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Captain Slogger
  • Posts: 938
    • View Profile
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2019, 06:43:06 am »
I picked all my own magic mushrooms.

H

  • *
  • The Zero-Mod
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • The Honourable H
  • Posts: 2571
  • The Original No-God Apologist
    • View Profile
    • The Original No-God Apologist
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2019, 01:05:49 pm »
It is weird how people react when you say you don't drink - it makes them oddly uncomfortable.

I rarely drink, and only once or twice would I say I got close to drunk but I promptly fell asleep anyway.

I doubt I'll ever do psychedelics, but I guess I wonder what exactly makes one a professional philosopher of mind, assumed to have a certain expertise, if not collecting an array of varied states of consciousness? (This doesn't have to involve drugs of course, given there's currently no safe legal way to do psychedelics outside of limited studies.)

It seems to me, perhaps unfairly given Western philosophy seems to defer to Science, that anyone can philosophize on consciousness if reading some stuff is all it takes.

I know that feeling as well, I pretty much never drink and only a handful of times did until I was actually drunk.

I think where the article sort of runs away from me is where it sort of goes to "prove" panpsychism through experience.  The issue here, I guess, for me, is something like: "normative" experience doesn't include a panpsychic component and psychedelic experience seems to.  Under what auspices are we to discount one for the other.  In other words, how are we to be sure that psychedelic experience isn't just a hallucination?

I'm not apt to discount psychedelic experience, of course, because as something of a phenomenologist, it's plain to see that it is something.  Although that leaves the question of "what is it?" wide open, still.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 854
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2019, 06:07:20 pm »
It is weird how people react when you say you don't drink - it makes them oddly uncomfortable.

I rarely drink, and only once or twice would I say I got close to drunk but I promptly fell asleep anyway.

I doubt I'll ever do psychedelics, but I guess I wonder what exactly makes one a professional philosopher of mind, assumed to have a certain expertise, if not collecting an array of varied states of consciousness? (This doesn't have to involve drugs of course, given there's currently no safe legal way to do psychedelics outside of limited studies.)

It seems to me, perhaps unfairly given Western philosophy seems to defer to Science, that anyone can philosophize on consciousness if reading some stuff is all it takes.

I know that feeling as well, I pretty much never drink and only a handful of times did until I was actually drunk.

I think where the article sort of runs away from me is where it sort of goes to "prove" panpsychism through experience.  The issue here, I guess, for me, is something like: "normative" experience doesn't include a panpsychic component and psychedelic experience seems to.  Under what auspices are we to discount one for the other.  In other words, how are we to be sure that psychedelic experience isn't just a hallucination?

I'm not apt to discount psychedelic experience, of course, because as something of a phenomenologist, it's plain to see that it is something.  Although that leaves the question of "what is it?" wide open, still.

I agree with this, but I think it opens the door to an interesting question - If experiences limited by their special, uncommon nature don't give us the reality of our normal day-to-day experiences....what exactly are psychology studies showing us?
Health Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12NfnxYU5ZSur-RahRNI-bNMnTjxE12vyGWmY46Xq2h0/edit

Register family with 911 services. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, legal aid, etc.

H

  • *
  • The Zero-Mod
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • The Honourable H
  • Posts: 2571
  • The Original No-God Apologist
    • View Profile
    • The Original No-God Apologist
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2019, 06:32:09 pm »
I agree with this, but I think it opens the door to an interesting question - If experiences limited by their special, uncommon nature don't give us the reality of our normal day-to-day experiences....what exactly are psychology studies showing us?

You mean, studies of psychedelic experience?

If there is a difference between the "hetero-normative" experience and the psychedelic experience (and it seems likely that there is) then we learn could learn how and why each is as they are.  I think either case, the "research" is giving you a sense of the board capabilities of the brain and the resultant experiential quality those states lead to.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 854
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2019, 06:48:43 pm »
I agree with this, but I think it opens the door to an interesting question - If experiences limited by their special, uncommon nature don't give us the reality of our normal day-to-day experiences....what exactly are psychology studies showing us?

You mean, studies of psychedelic experience?

If there is a difference between the "hetero-normative" experience and the psychedelic experience (and it seems likely that there is) then we learn could learn how and why each is as they are.  I think either case, the "research" is giving you a sense of the board capabilities of the brain and the resultant experiential quality those states lead to.

I mean all studies where you isolate people into a laboratory environment, make them engage in odd tasks, and/or make them add to the level of recursive introspection (thinking about thinking).
Health Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12NfnxYU5ZSur-RahRNI-bNMnTjxE12vyGWmY46Xq2h0/edit

Register family with 911 services. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, legal aid, etc.

H

  • *
  • The Zero-Mod
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • The Honourable H
  • Posts: 2571
  • The Original No-God Apologist
    • View Profile
    • The Original No-God Apologist
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2019, 07:21:48 pm »
I mean all studies where you isolate people into a laboratory environment, make them engage in odd tasks, and/or make them add to the level of recursive introspection (thinking about thinking).

Well, all anything can tell us is about the thing in the conditions presented.  We can think about and debate how generalizable that would be, outside the presented circumstances, but I don't know that we could ever know.  In realty, different sorts of experience could still tell us something about another, if it is the case that, say, one is exaggeration or distillation of another, or some such.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 854
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2019, 07:50:29 pm »
I mean all studies where you isolate people into a laboratory environment, make them engage in odd tasks, and/or make them add to the level of recursive introspection (thinking about thinking).

Well, all anything can tell us is about the thing in the conditions presented.  We can think about and debate how generalizable that would be, outside the presented circumstances, but I don't know that we could ever know.  In realty, different sorts of experience could still tell us something about another, if it is the case that, say, one is exaggeration or distillation of another, or some such.

I agree with this, I just think we've tried to take the "degenerate" cases of psychology experiments and generalize them to life beyond the lab.

In fact it seems "folk psychology" has an incredible degree of success in the real world, and it was used to this effect even as psychology wasted its time with the delusion of behaviorism.

That said, I think therapy has great value, but psychology seems to have extended itself beyond application into speculation.
Health Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12NfnxYU5ZSur-RahRNI-bNMnTjxE12vyGWmY46Xq2h0/edit

Register family with 911 services. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, legal aid, etc.

H

  • *
  • The Zero-Mod
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • The Honourable H
  • Posts: 2571
  • The Original No-God Apologist
    • View Profile
    • The Original No-God Apologist
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2019, 10:22:22 pm »
I agree with this, I just think we've tried to take the "degenerate" cases of psychology experiments and generalize them to life beyond the lab.

In fact it seems "folk psychology" has an incredible degree of success in the real world, and it was used to this effect even as psychology wasted its time with the delusion of behaviorism.

That said, I think therapy has great value, but psychology seems to have extended itself beyond application into speculation.

Well, some accepts might be generalizable, some might not, it's hard to say.  But, while I do have a psychology degree, I was always far more interested in analytical sorts, rather than anything else, which really isn't far from philosophy in reality.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 854
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 10:29:48 pm »
Well, some accepts might be generalizable, some might not, it's hard to say.  But, while I do have a psychology degree, I was always far more interested in analytical sorts, rather than anything else, which really isn't far from philosophy in reality.

I mean there is always value in trying to improve mental states. I think in its humanitarian ideal psychology is good stuff, and has saved lives and ideally can save even more.

Similarly math gives us incredible predictive power but when people think everything about reality is amenable to mathematical description we end up with (IMO) deeply wrongheaded ideas like causation is either deterministic/random b/c math only has non-random and random descriptions through functions, prob-stats, etc.
Health Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12NfnxYU5ZSur-RahRNI-bNMnTjxE12vyGWmY46Xq2h0/edit

Register family with 911 services. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, legal aid, etc.

TaoHorror

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Posts: 993
  • Blueberry Psûkhe Sorcerer
    • View Profile
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2019, 12:34:50 am »
... even as psychology wasted its time with the delusion of behaviorism.

What do you mean by this?

May your death be soon, slow and painful