Tuesday mornings are hard on me for some reason, but this morning, delight hit me from three angles, thanks to this one essay.
Delight One: Bookman
It comes from The University Bookman, one of the first subscription journals I read (my Dad subscribed and I started reading it when I was 14, albeit only understanding about 5% of what I read). It's now online only and free, but I will be donating soon. It's regularly publishing great essays like the one that drives this Briefly post.
Delight Two: Huxley Corroboration
I have long been fascinated by Aldous Huxley and The Doors of Perception. Huxley spent much of his life, trying to break on through to the other side.
The necessary assumption in that effort: belief that there is another side. Psychedelics, Huxley thought, might help us see it, and I tend to agree, but I could only imagine what my conservative and Catholic friends, family, and readers might think. And then along comes serious Catholic Eve Tushnet at seriously conservative Bookman (to which I was linked by the seriously agrarian Front Porch Republic) and corroborates my (still developing) belief:
If eating a mushroom lets you see ultraviolet light, would you conclude that UV light doesn’t exist? If eating a mushroom worked like a cochlear implant, would it mean that sound is fake? So why not entertain the possibility that when shrooms dissolve your sense of the boundaries of the self and allow you to encounter previously untouched depths of joy and peace, they’re opening “the doors of perception” into something real?
Joe Rogan is my main source of information about today's psychedelic renewal. Unfortunately, he and his guests seem inclined to the view that, because psychedelics give us a religious experience, religion doesn't exist. I think their general attitude can be summarized as:
"Psychedelics give us a fake religious experience. Therefore, all religious experience is fake."
Or, put another way: "Because all those Elvis impersonators are fakes. Elvis didn't exist."
This review essay of a book about fungi takes a different view: the common sense one. If there is an experience of another reality, then maybe that other reality exists.
Delight Three: The Essay Itself
Eve Tushnet has written a beautiful essay. I've long read her and know her to be a master stylist. It's on display here. I'm going to print it out later and read it again.