Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Religion: Is Everyone Right?

I was working at the place where I work, which I refer to as GPE (Greatest Place on Earth). During the Thanksgiving break, I was required to work 31 hours in 4 days. I’m sure many of you have to work more hours on a regular basis, at more grueling jobs. But you get paid more, I’m sure, and you don’t have to spend that time listening to the endless prattling of a 17 year old psychedelics enthusiast who I will refer to as Ronny Sifkind. He is a coworker of mine, and was scheduled for almost the exact same hours as I during this time.

Anyway, he was going on about this chemical that the brain releases during the dream state called DMT. I didn’t listen to much of what he said, as I generally attempt to block out most of what comes out of his mouth. But I was nevertheless mildly intrigued and looked DMT up on Wikipedia the next week.

In addition to Wikipedia, I came across an overview for a book called DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman. All of the following is conjecture and its basis is assembled from those two sources. It isn’t conjecture because I was lazy and didn’t look at more sources, it is because so much about this molecule is unknown.

It is found in some plants, and is naturally produced in the human body, albeit in trace amounts. It is speculated, and not confirmed, that DMT contributes to the visual process of dreaming. In South America, there are tribes that ingest DMT as part of psychedelic rituals. In other parts of the world, it is smoked in a synthesized form. It is considered extremely illegal.

What produces DMT in the body? It is hypothesized that the mysterious pineal gland is what creates natural DMT in the brain. At 49 days after conception, this gland releases DMT into the body for the first time. When someone dies, there is a massive rush of DMT.

So what can we glean from this? Perhaps human consciousness is derived from the production and release of DMT. Perhaps people do, in fact, have “souls” and “spirits”, which enter the body at 49 days and leave when that person dies. Perhaps consciousness is a form of hallucination produced by this molecule. Strassman makes the claim that the rush of DMT at death is responsible for people’s so called “Near death experiences.”

It is also speculated that people who have tried DMT can experience a whole lifetime in a span of ten minutes, simply by means of hallucinating. This leads me to wonder what association time has with consciousness. Could the massive release of the molecule at death create an afterlife in that person’s mind, which time would have no bearing on, seeing as that person’s consciousness had ceased?

Think about dreams. In them, no new information is available to you that wasn’t in your awake state. Dreams are based on reality. Could it be, then, that if someone truly believed in a heaven, or a hell, that they could very well enter that place in their own mind? Could a Buddhist hallucinate another lifetime as a different being? Could a Muslim extremist encounter 99 virgins in the afterlife? Perhaps what happens when we die follows the same pretense as Santa Claus; if you believe it, then it’s real.

All speculation, of course. But a (Quasi) scientific theory is more palatable to me than something involving the supernatural. Just something to think about.


Buddhism… Correct?

I’m pretty much as atheist as they come. I’m sorry; shield your children. I’ve been taking these Eastern religion courses, however, and I started to think, well, damn. What if Buddhists were right? What if they’ve been right all along; they’re just too chill to care whether anyone believes them?

Let’s first establish what it is they may be right about.

They believe in reincarnation. There’s a system of karma that dictates what realm of the earth or heavens or hells that we will be born into. If you’re some sort of turtle, and you’re a huge prick at that, you’ll run the risk of being born in your next life as a hungry ghost or some shit. If you’re a super nice turtle, and you don’t even eat your babies or anything, you might skip the human realm and end up in the heavenly realm amongst the gods. But you don’t want either of those outcomes. You don’t WANT to be reborn. That’s not what Buddhists are after; they want liberation from the endless cycle of suffering. And the only way to get out of the cycle of rebirth is through meditation in the human realm. And there is a cosmic Buddha who appears every several eons to make sure everyone is doing okay.

I’ll stop here for a moment. This is bullshit so far. The only realm of existence that one can achieve liberation in… is the only one we know for sure exists. Hungry ghosts? Cosmic Buddhas? No, this part makes no sense.

But Buddhists don’t claim religiosity. They claim they follow a way of life. It’s like how most sane Christians know that everything the Bible says is bullshit, but it still teaches good morals to live by.

Well imagine if a religion ACTUALLY taught us good rules to live by! As opposed to persecuting gays and anyone different, not using birth control and being a condescending dick to anyone who thinks different.

Buddhists believe that life is defined by suffering. Everything you gain and which gives you happiness can be taken away, and eventually will be taken away. So what’s the point? The only reason those things (A relationship, a car, a job) give you happiness is because you wanted them and worked for them. That’s striving. Buddhists don’t believe in striving. That creates attachment when you actually achieve what you strive for. And when you have this attachment, what happens when it’s inevitably taken away? Suffering.

And how do Buddhists go about ending this suffering? They meditate until they achieve enlightenment. And if they become attached to meditating, they aren’t doing it right. If they become attached to not being attached, they aren’t doing it right. It takes years of practice, but the goal is to become completely mindful 100% of the time. And being mindful is something that all of us can actually do. 1% of the time. When you are completely mindful of everything around you, you don’t care about whatever you aspire to. You are in the moment, simply taking in everything around you. And I honestly believe that if I were to become mindful all the time, I wouldn’t have suffering. I’m up to 2% and I’m feeling great!

Ask a Buddhist master who has achieved this. Are you suffering?

“Nah man, just puttin mah mofuckin bodhi tree ona rock or some shit.”

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Dedicated to the life and times of Officer Dog