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Psychedelic Wisdom Sources You Trust?

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I got the joke. And I’m not saying you’re saying that shamans are psychotic. I’m saying that, they weren’t saying that either. There were certainly quacks who might have institutionalized a guy like Souther, were he time travelled back to those days and invited to share his experiences as a trained shaman… but they would be violating even their own, now outdated standards in doing so. Because again, he wouldn’t exhibit any deterioration in cognitive function, which they defined as follows:

“ Schizophrenia always involves deterioration from a previous level of functioning during some phase of the illness in such areas as work, social relations, and self-care.”

Note that word “always”. Souther would not meet any of those, and they very specifically note that this is a symptom that *must* be present for a valid diagnosis to be made. You could probably find a Nurse Ratched who would lie and institutionalize him - sure. But the authors of that diagnostic manual wouldn’t have validated her for doing so.

There’s a lot of things wrong with those old books. Sexual orientation and gender identity variance was pathologized, for example. And their treatment methods for a wide array of things were nothing short of horrifying - and are still improving, and in some respects, possibly getting worse (in the sense that pharmaceutical profit is more of a factor than it was historically). But in this particular instance, they actually didn’t fuck up too badly. They knew the difference between simple non-ordinary cognitive phenomena, and full-fledged schizophrenia. Their definition for that was significantly more stringent than you are giving them credit for, even if you could find abusive individuals who would ignore their own standards of practice.
..send a yopo snuff inhaling shaman in touch with the hekula spirits to 'work' in modern society..I think there might be some deterioration

From a scientific, and treatment point of view, the definitions of schizophrenia are still way too broad, vague and open to interpretation..

maybe the wisdom Terence was pointing to was to trust in yourself and your journey..
solo warrior explorer...and if in doubt - tell the world about your DMT experiences to see if anyone else can relate :)
Souther’s doing fine. He’s pretty business savvy, and he averages three or four ceremonies a week, and has done so for decades. The result is a remarkably calm, centered, and lucid individual - which is, honestly, a natural outcome for skillful psychedelic use. He’d get along fine in his home culture, although he would undoubtedly find it unfulfilling. But that’s an ordinary thing, not a reduction in cognitive function where you’re no longer bathing or able to maintain stable relationships or what have you.

I’ve been careful to quote some stuff, so perhaps you could point to what specifically you’re speaking about here? The definitions I’m seeing are actually pretty clear, specific, and in my opinion, very valid, and actually speak to the exact intuitions I had to start with, to a tee.
^ that's just one kind of schizophrenia..an extreme one...there are perfectly lucid and sensitive people who are diagnosed with forms of schizophrenia..

I think you need to ask the questions - is the modern consensus society sane?
Is succeeding in a modern business model helpful 'psychedelic wisdom'?
Is it not the fact that the more traditional a lot of indigenous people are, the more alien and insane the modern business world seems to them? Is their failure to make money from psychedelic knowledge a deficiency, whereas Hamilton's ability to make money is a good thing in the overall thousands of years of deep psychedelic wisdom?

The inability of individuals to fit in or participate in consensus society has often been used as a way of questioning their sanity..and making them effectively state prisoners

People can become catatonic schizophrenic because they cannot handle the modern world..
Some of these notions of sanity are pure manipulation..

Hamilton is interesting, but is this the psychedelic wisdom to carry humanity though the ages ? Many who have watched for a long time will say that business models have corrupted and destroyed some of the true traditions in Peru

I think we all need to get a lot wiser than this, if we want to 'make it' as species in the long-term picture
nen888 said:
^ that's just one kind of schizophrenia..an extreme one...there are perfectly lucid and sensitive people who are diagnosed with forms of schizophrenia..

That might be true, I’d have to look at DSM V to see. But, in DSM III, they don’t describe that as a single outlier or extreme variant, they specifically note that reduced cognitive ability, in the sense of: not being able to work, maintain social relations, or attend to basic self-care (that means hygiene, nutrition, paying your bills, and so on) is ALWAYS present, and without this feature, a diagnosis of schizophrenia is not valid under DSM III criteria. These symptoms do not necessarily remain in place forever, but they must persist for at least six months for a diagnosis to be made. These are the minimal criteria in that book, not maximal outliers.
Regarding Hamilton: no, I wouldn’t say his decision to make money as an ayahuasquero is “wise”, or unwise. He’s just a doctor with a private practice. I only point to him because you said that a shaman deep in practice and communion with spirits would be in no fit state to integrate into our model of society. While they might not be inclined to, it is not true that they cannot do so. They can. Hamilton Souther does. Most interviews I’ve seen with shamans are of people who are very grounded and ordinary in their disposition. The criteria state a person must lose their functional ability to work, have stable relations, and care for themselves. It’s not even saying they have to do that in a Western mode - just in general.

Something that might be a revelation: indigenous cultures, in their native settings, even without colonialism, are aware of the existence of mental illness. Yes, you’ll find a lot less of it than in the modern world’s toxicity - but looking at these definitions, they would say, “Yes, that is a good description of somebody who our culture would recognize as mentally ill, and no, our shamans would not meet that criteria” - and even Western doctors, even those earlier decades, would tell you: if they are working, relating, and self-maintaining in whatever normal way healthy people in their culture are doing - they’re not schizophrenic. Even if they are talking to ghosts. That’s not enough to get a schizophrenia diagnosis.
Something that might be a revelation:
OneIsEros...your arrogance is something that may prevent you accessing wisdom at times..

[i've edited out any reference i made to having indigenous connections here: mentioning them in this thread just degrades respect for them, given how the thread continues..so i'm just me, on my own]

You're wading far beyond 'psychedelic' wisdom into complexities i don't think you've really taken the time to ponder conceptually..I don't think you actually understand what i'm trying to say as far as definitions, indicators, diagnosis, interpretations, culture etc of 'schizophrenia'...you know what? it doesn't exist...theres a lot of different psychological issues...but schizophrenia is a blanket western term..

And I don't know why the point of this is..I just don't think you got Terence's joke..
If you did I don't think you'd be trying to tease out the technical diagnosis of schizophrenia..he's talking ultimately about cultural issues..
Or perhaps you’re just wrong, and didn’t learn well in school. Forgive me, but you have not been, at a single moment, specific. You have made general claims, none of which you’ve substantiated in the slightest. I was being patient, but I’m not going to continue this if you do not become specific in providing some justification for anything you’ve said. Your appeal to your own authority is not what would constitute that.

-edit- I want to point out that at every moment in this interaction; I have made it clear that this is not my expertise, but articulated my common sense concerns, based on my experiences of people with psychosis, and have quoted at some length the text you wanted to cite to justify your own position, and I requested you do the same, instead of making sweeping claims and generalizations without any specific justification or citation. You didn’t do that. You ignored that request, called me arrogant, and made an appeal to your own authority.

I did not intend for this interaction to be hostile, but, these conditions were frustrating to converse with. I tried to meet you on your terms, but you weren’t interested in that. Your appeal to your own authority is definitely utterly meaningless to me. I don’t want to have a hostile conversation with you - but I do want an articulate and well reasoned one. If you want to do that, I would be happy to proceed. Otherwise, your thesis just doesn’t persuade me in the least, and this just ends stupidly.
you want to go into a specific detailed analysis of the DSM III and IV, and the arguments around the concept of schizophrenia...? i was explaining Terence's joke and its historical context..for some reason you have a real bee in your bonnet about him..

you write to people like they're all idiots...you don't listen to or acknowledge properly most of the people who earnestly contributed to your thread..
do i claim to be 'right'...i just have my opinions..

so yeah, sure, maybe i just failed in school...you're right..i'm happier to hang out with a bunch of 'natives' who also maybe failed in school..we should see Dr Hamilton, after all he's qualified..And i'll suggest to them we learn the authority of Plato and the like, and contemplate how we can better fit in with the Republic

may you find what you're looking for OneIsEros
I regret this interaction, partially. Where I do not regret it is…. Well, this kind of lack of clarity just exposes the baselessness of these kinds of ideas. I wish you would have simply been specific. I suspect it would have involved admitting you were mistaken, but, you may not have wanted to do so.

You can call me names and mock me, and I don’t think I was talking down to you. I definitely felt that way about you towards me, and I was trying to engage you more directly so we could set aside opinion and engage in analysis instead.

I’ll admit I am rather annoying though. I can live with that, I think. I hope.
Terence's joke would have had no meaning at the time if that was the case..plenty got it then..he:s using 'schizophrenia' in a general sense, at it is often used...there are specific psychosises in the diagnostic manual that are more the point here if you want to get technical...and as I said schizophrenia is considered a very blanket term for different manifestations

i think you create your own barriers to wisdom by not listening

but if you really care to present a detailed analysis (go through the psychosis diagnosis as well, for instance Organic Hallucinosis) in the DSM III and demonstrate what's mistaken here, please do...
I will do so tomorrow. It’s late where I am, so, I need to go to bed.

For tomorrow, here’s basically how I understand the joke to be, or at least how you understand it (I still suspect Terence might not have been entirely joking, but one thing at a time).

The DSM (III we’re working with here) gives such and such a definition of schizophrenia. By jove, shamans experience these symptoms! Therefore, (absurd result) shamans are “crazy” by Western medical standards. Cue laughter, because - shamans are not crazy. Western medicine has failed to properly define mental illness, and is guilty of folly.

My point is - not even. I’ve laid out quite a number of reasons why, citing specific passages to support that, and actually invited you to do the same. I will do as you ask again tomorrow when I have time to read through stuff again, but - I think I get the joke (if he was entirely joking - in the two videos posted he seems to be 100% joking about he himself having this illness - but he seems more speculative in other places, in one video more doubtful, in the other, more pondering). But one thing at a time. Tomorrow I will comb through why it is that I don’t think the DSM III would diagnose shamans as having schizophrenia… again. I’ll also look at the sections on psychosis.

While I do appreciate the joke, I’ll offer a reason for why I think it’s important to deconstruct this. The idea that “Ah, shamans are not crazy, they just fit a poor definition of what being crazy is”, while interesting as a critique of Western medicine, still, I think, does not do justice to shamans, who are overwhelmingly lucid and ordinary people, even by the terms of the outdated DSM III. That is a very, very important point. Shamanism, as wild as it is, is simultaneously embodied by individuals who are very plain and down to Earth, and who would not, even in early psychiatric contexts, fit a definition of mental illness. You yourself kind of suggested that a yopo-snuffing shaman in close contact with spirits would qualify as experiencing the DSM III’s definition of cognitive reduction, but I’m trying to say - NOT EVEN!

I think this is important, humorous joke at flawed Western medicine aside. I’ve already done a lot, but - more tomorrow. For now, good night, and thank-you for not ending this encounter with too much hostility. Openness to continuing conversation is, I think, important, and I thank you for bearing with my annoyingness… I just do really think this is an important point, and that there really is a point, which is just that - I really suspect that even on the most archaic and backward standards of Western psychiatric medicine, that shamans would NOT meet even those definitions of mental illness. I have no problem with critiquing Western psychiatric medicine, I’m more emphasizing the overwhelming degree of sound mental health possessed by shamanic individuals, even by those often archaic and backward standards - which is a testament to the lucidity and normalcy of shamanic individuals, that even by THOSE standards they would still be considered “sane”. That is why I’m holding onto this point so strongly. I hope that makes sense.
OneIsEros... diagnosis is an arbitrary decision by a clinician..
Certainly, by the DSM III I could declare half the people here psychotic if they expressed their true inner reality...but that's just a label..
But if you think Terence thought shamans were in general crazy, you didn't get the joke..

Terence is about cultural ideas..

I have been compassionate, but I genuinely think you need pulling up in some ways, and you're going off on a definitions tangent that's entirely missing the point..
I think by grasping the bigger concepts here, you'll get further..
Right now to be honest you seem really hung up about a trivial point..this is reaching the 'who cares' category...

It is true, however, that indigenous people have been institutionalized on the grounds of mental health issues that can be argued are more to do with their world view not fitting in with the mainstream...and I've seen some very sensitive western people institutionalised and controlled with anti-psychotics because they hear voices, or don't want to get out of bed one day..

..this kind of tangent you've gone on, and the way you've gone on it, especially in the context of this thread, which has lots of ideas -
i think this is also why a lot of psychedelic wisdom is not shared with the world, especially in written form...it's just going to get misinterpreted, used to try justify agendas ..you think Terence is saying shamans are schizophrenic..and so this ensues....i noted what me and some students noted about diagnosis in the 80s/90s..this was in part what lead to developments in psychology since, but it's far from enlightened..

It was a passing, general point...on diagnosis and cultural concensus of normal mental functioning..you may agree or not...but it's reached the point of time wasting IMO

Shamans often hear voices when not on entheogens...that, in psychology, is a psychotic symptom...I can't believe you even want to debate this..

There were some good suggestions in this thread by others...never responded to
Are you deaf to them? Did their opinions just not matter?

That's what's really a shame here, to me
Voidmatrix said:
Can you elaborate more on what you mean by "psychedelic wisdom" and its distinction from "wisdom?"

One love

I may have lost your answer oneiseros in the ensuing maelstrom of discussion. But what is your definition of psychedelic wisdom? And what is your definition of wisdom?
hug454 said:
Voidmatrix said:
Can you elaborate more on what you mean by "psychedelic wisdom" and its distinction from "wisdom?"

One love

I may have lost your answer oneiseros in the ensuing maelstrom of discussion. But what is your definition of psychedelic wisdom? And what is your definition of wisdom?

In colloquial terms it usually refers to understanding ethical principles in an intuitive and practical way, these days. In a more precise sense but more removed from general language use, I would define it as understanding causes and principles (philosophy, the love of wisdom, is more than just ethical study).

In the case of “psychedelic wisdom”, I see a happy meeting between the two senses. On the one hand, to really understand psychedelics in their essential character (which I do believe they have), is to understand them as medicines - and to fully understand the causes and principles of psychedelic healing is to understand their functional ability to facilitate shamanic healing, which is a form of literal magic. This captures the ethical sense as well as the more general “knowledge of a thing being knowledge of its causes and principles”. Where that more general sense may fail is in the fact that shamanic use of psychedelics can also be used for malevolent purposes, but, I would argue that this is unwise not just in the moral sense, but in the more abstract sense as well, in that it is a failure to apprehend the deep nature of these things as medicine, which I think is more essentially present in them than it is in, say, aspirin. They have more of a medicinal character in their “spirit” than ordinary medicines - to understand how to actualize that in the most comprehensive sense, constitutes being psychedelically wise or learned.

These are only my musings though, there is a lot of speculative reasoning there. That’s my general view, though.
nen888 said:
OneIsEros... diagnosis is an arbitrary decision by a clinician..

Arbitrary in what sense? Because both in the past and the present, a diagnosis can be mistaken or correct, in reference to definitions. Like I said, I’ll go through it tonight, but, no, even by the DSM III, my sober-life hallucinations (which I’ve had regularly since my teenage years) would not constitute psychosis or schizophrenia. This is because my ability to “reality test” is not interfered with, nor is there any accompanying cognitive reduction.

This symptom that I have could be symptomatic of psychosis, yes, but they would not be enough on their own to make a valid diagnosis. Therein lies the difference, which you are confusing, in a way that is now clear, is real confusion. You’re just saying things, without citing any textual evidence to support what you’re saying. I’ll follow up tonight.

-edit- I also want to quickly note that I am very aware of the atrocities committed against indigenous peoples, in a wide variety of medical contexts, not just psychiatric, and beyond medicine as well. In education, like residential schools, in religion, like rapists priests who murdered their young victims’ babies in those very schools (and buried them in the school grounds), to medical experimentation of a huge number of kinds - yeah. There’s a lot there. And as I’ve said, in more general populations, there’s problems. Homosexuality, transgenderism, these were also pathologized, by definition.

But it’s not arbitrary. Definitions are revised, I’d say improved, over time (we don’t pathologize homosexuality anymore, for example) - and while the act of diagnosing is done by an individual, that individual can get it wrong - which is what makes it not arbitrary.

I’m getting frustrated just because, it seems as though you’re ignoring just about everything I have to say, and are condescending to me, without vitiating any of your points, or recognizing when I’ve recognized yours.
in a discussion, i treat everyone the same..if you find that condescending, well ok..don't take it personally

i thought i was pretty clear, despite it being a colloquial story

it's the 1980s, Terence McKenna is still a cult figure, the DSM III is the standard

if someone has a number of indicators, a decision is made by a clinician in the diagnosis..
it's up to them how to judge that..it is extremely biased by the personal viewpoint of the clinician..

the manual they are using lists a number of human experiences which are said to deviate from the norm, and are listed as these indicators..it's not bio-chemistry in here..it's largely behavioural and perceptual

now, in the 80s Terence McKenna made a joke based on the fact that many indicators of psychosis, schizophrenia, whatever your cultural based categorisation is (in this case DSM III) are experienced by mystics, prophets, shamans etc...

that doesn't mean they will be diagnosed as that, but it means they can be ..
you've diagnosed yourself as not psychotic.. great

my example of a cultural created psychological 'condition' would be the 'hysteria' women had to be 'treated' for

yes, things change...i mentioned the historical context of a joke, didn't I
By how much now, things have changed, I leave to you to judge..

but personally I think it's kind of boring in a thread that was meant to be talking about psychedelic wisdom., it's a pity
I'm still perplexed by how much most other people's sharings have been ignored throughout

So, to answer your question, what I'm saying above is it's both meanings, at once, depending on the individual, how they feel about you and your beliefs, and the state


based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

(of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.
"a country under arbitrary government

thanks to the people who posted some interesting and good wisdoms earlier on, and for the thread
In the real world, most of the time when a doctor diagnoses someone, the person will have come to that doctor himself, asking for a diagnosis.
In most other remaining cases, someone else will have asked for that diagnosis because of problematic behaviour.

Maybe it is a bit of a problem in itself that, especially at schools, behaviour that even slightly deviates from the norm is immediately being labeled as problematic by teachers or parents.

But the point is that most of the time, people are asking for a diagnosis because of some kind of suffering, either by the person to be diagnosed himself, or by people around that person.

Cultural background is usually taken into account, because much of the suffering has to do with an inability to adapt to ones environment, regardless even of whether that environment itself is healthy or unhealthy. When an environment itself is sick, there can still be ways of responding, that lead or contribute to suffering.

An example of this is the covid lockdowns. I think everybody who has been in such a lockdown has suffered to some extent. But some people have suffered more than others. And they didn't go to a doctor to ask for the lockdowns to be lifted, but because they for instance had problems falling asleep, or panic attacks, or started to ruminate endlessly and these problems began taking over their lives.
absolutely dragonrider, Terence's point is i'm saying more about cultural norms than actual diagnosis..

i have seen cases though in certain jurisdictions where someone (especially in cases of catatonic conditions or nervous breakdown) has a family member call the authorities, and someone effectively becomes a state prisoner (sectioned) , through no choice of their own to seek diagnosis..in some cases those people can want out, but their very way of expressing that sees them diagnosed in longer...it's all fine lines amd decisions, and often people need help..

my point was also about norms and perception...not that shamans will be diagnosed schizophrenic..it was a common point made not just by Terence but others back in the 70s-90s, that some indicators of what's labelled psychosis are also indicators of mystical states...belief in witchcraft is 'delusional'..someone has to make that decision on delusion..
this is the kind of point..again i think Terence was asking a rhetorical question in the form of a joke or statement..

i didn't think it was a big point...and certainly not a tangent worth getting too caught up in..it was a concept of the zeitgeist, and it was that, by those standards someone with the authority could diagnose in this way, using the diagnostic manual as a tool..

my point about a yopo shaman being thrust into a modern work environment - there's a few layers to think about there...not that i said shamans are schizophrenic :?
I’ll explain a bit of where this is coming from.

I mentioned I’ve experienced hallucination since I was a teenager (I’m in my 30’s now). There’s a wide range of supernatural states I’ve experienced, both with and without psychedelics, as well as these sober hallucinations. People breathing out clouds of thick white smoke where there was none, telepathic experiences, and others. I won’t go into all of it.

My father’s best friend is a now retired forensic psychologist, who worked with young offenders. He retired about five years ago now, but he was the head of his department, and he was educated at the time that the DSM under question was written (late 70’s early 80’s).

He explained this to me, that while there are, in diagnoses, a constellation of symptoms that need to be present for a diagnosis to be made, symptoms are only indicators - not diagnoses in themselves. With the sorts of things that mystics, shamans, curanderos, yogis, and so on commonly experience - yes, these fit the criteria for potential symptoms of mental illness. But a symptom is not a diagnosis. Being warm is a symptom of fever - but you might have just gone for a jog, rather being ill. See what I mean? A symptom is a sign that, maybe, there could be something going on, which is commonly associated with that sign. But also: maybe not. This is why multiple, specific criteria, all need to be met. From what he explained to me, though my experiences are not ordinary, they are not enough in and of themselves to conclude that their source is pathological.

That is not arbitrary, that is based on strict criteria, that I do not objectively fit. Period.

My frustration with this conversation is just that, you pointed to DSM III, and made very radical claims about it - like, how shamans could by those criteria fit the definition of having schizophrenia. Then, when I pointed out the real criteria, and how it *always* needs to accompanied by cognitive deficits, you said that is only true of “extreme cases” - when I pointed out that, no, that is an absolutely necessary criterion, which *must* persist for at least six months - you just went ahead and ignored that, and kept on saying things, with no reference to the text that *you* invited me to consider. And continued saying things like “diagnoses are arbitrary”, and that I have “diagnosed myself”.

Not true. These are very clear criteria, which are necessary criteria, not as you asserted the “extreme cases”. It is true, these symptoms do not need to last forever, but they *do* need to last at least six months. You did not at any point address this, and, it was frustrating to have someone call me “arrogant” while making these radical and utterly unsupported claims. Not that they *can’t* be supported, you just didn’t support them, or respond to any of it. It was just pure dismissal, without any reason. Also, continuing to say I “did not get the joke”, repeatedly. I get it, dude.

Joke: Western psychiatry lists certain symptoms and calls people who have them crazy, shamans (whom we know not to be crazy), fit those symptoms. Western psychiatry is absurd and inadequate. LOL!

I don’t misunderstand you. I’m saying that, while this is amusing, it is ONLY a joke, NOT in the sense that “the shamans are actually sane and the definition of schizophrenia is inadequate”. I mean in the sense that: the definition is actually very adequate, and

They. Do. Not. Fit. That. Definition.

It’s not about the inadequacy of the definition - it’s that the definition genuinely doesn’t apply to them, there is no revision of the definition needed in order for them to avoid having it attached to them. I’m willing to again go through why, but…. I’ve already done it, once. So, are we dropping it; or… do I do it again?
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