There’s really just one judgement that needs to be made right away: I really have no respect for hierarchical structures, whether they are manifested in the form of a relationship between a father and a son or between a leader and his/her disciples. I am aware that this lack of respect means nothing, but still, I feel more comfortable saying it. These vertical structures are based around the idea of power (control, power, charisma, you choose) and respect (submission or a false sense of collective sharing) and they stand in the way of liberty. Having said that, I don’t deny that given the way our culture has evolved we often need to lean back on these structures to evolve. I think that, IN PART, that is what Source Family is about. I have absolutely no other judgement about them. Each chooses one’s way to enlightenment and no one should stand in the way. If you think this is bullshit, crazy people, cult material, whatever you want to call it, you ought to think twice. The world is far greater than we can grasp, we know nothing. Assuming any different is presuming we accept the appearance of things to stand for the knowledge of things and that’s pure delusion.
Nietzsche, in “Human, All Too Human” claims: Formerly the spirit was not engaged in rigorous thinking, its serious occupation was the spinning out of forms and symbols. That has now changed; serious occupation with the symbolic has become a mark of a lower culture. As our arts themselves grow ever more intellectual, our senses more spiritual, and as for example we now adjudge what is pleasant sounding quite differently from the way we did a hundred years ago: so the forms of our life will grow ever more spiritual, perhaps to the eye of earlier ages uglier, but only because it is incapable of seeing how the realm of inner, spiritual beauty is continually growing deeper and wider, and to what extent we may all now accord the eye of insight greater value than the fairest structure or the sublimest edifice.*
All philosophers committed to questioning the source, came to realize there was something very relevant to be said about spirituality. I might take another decade to get there, since I am nowhere close to the philosophical practice, but I fucking will.
This post comprises photographs of the Source Family (another documentary has been released) and a bunch of quotes from Stanislav Grof,** a psychoanalyst turned researcher into non-ordinary states of consciousness and the spiritual dimensions of existence.
About the conventions of Western psychology and psychiatry about everything that is out of the ordinary, Grof says: Since modern psychiatry does not differentiate between mystical or spiritual states and mental diseases, people experiencing these states [holotropic states] are often labeled psychotic, hospitalized, and receive routine suppressive psychopharmacological treatment. He goes on saying that Western psychiatry is biased in two ways: It is ethnocentric, which means that it considers its own view of the human psyche and of reality to be the only correct one and superior to all others. It is also cognicentric (a more accurate word might be pragmacentric), meaning that it takes into consideration only experiences and observations in the ordinary state of consciousness.
Grof’s different approach on the benefits of the symptoms of the so called mental illness: Every person also carries a variety of more or less latent emotional and bioenergetic blockages, which interfere with full physiological and psychological functioning. The manifestation of emotional and psychosomatic symptoms is the beginning of a healing process through which the organism is trying to free itself from these traumatic imprints and simplify its functioning. The only way this can happen is by emergence of the traumatic material into consciousness and its full experience and emotional and motor expression.
Grof‘s conclusion:Traditional psychology and psychiatry are dominated by materialistic philosophy and have no recognition for spirituality of any form. From the point of view of Western science, the material world represents the only reality and any form of spiritual belief is seen as reflecting lack of education, primitive superstition, magical thinking, or regression to infantile patterns of functioning. Direct experiences of spiritual realities are then relegated to the world of gross psychopathology, serious mental disorders. Western psychiatry makes no distinction between a mystical experience and a psychotic experience and sees both as manifestations of mental disease. In its rejection of religion, it does not differentiate primitive folk beliefs or fundamentalists’ literal interpretations of scriptures from sophisticated mystical traditions and Eastern spiritual philosophies based on centuries of systematic introspective exploration of the psyche. It pathologizes spirituality of any kind and together with it the entire spiritual history of humanity.
* Nietzsche, F. (1996) Human, All Too Human: a Book for Free Spirits. Cambridge: University Press
** Grof, S. Psychology of the Future