Leary said ‘I die so hard everytime’. I watched the biography today on Leary and Abbas, linking back to every reference I have ever heard Joe Rogan echo about psychedelics. It was fascinating and quite unsettling when the conversation settled upon death but that was the point I guess to unpack that irrationality.
Leary died of pancreatic cancer and they filmed a lot towards the end of his life and their ‘reunion’ as it were. I was probably wrong but in some way there was an effervescence to him in the final minutes of the documentary holding onto anything and everything before the end but at the same time an acceptance born of a lifetime of curiosity. Abbas in turn radiated a sense of peace and wonder. His beaming smile and genuine innate wonder that would at the point of death and in that moment being fully present, the idea of which would make most people shit themselves but he described as the moment of becoming a God.
Death seems to walk ever closely as I grow older and it is a quick step to link it to those around me and our experiences and the intimate mythologies we create surrounding it. They published ‘The Psychedelic Experience: Manuel based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead’ (1964) but it relates to living and dying. I am think this Tibetan guide has to be the next book to read…
And so I started to read and the premise alone from the many forwards and introductions from Jung to the Lamas’ is quite extraordinary. That this manual follows the journey from death to rebirth feels illogical as a narrative but is perfectly rational in its instruction for a process we do not witness. As noted in the book it appears that it would be impossible to comment on a process that not a living soul has witnessed but the counterargument to that Western perspective is that everyone has died multiple times via the cyclical completion of numerous lives. I don't know the answers to any of that but in I am fixated on how this correlates to the ideas predation and consciousness that are forming my research.
How many times within our lives in this context do we ‘die’? The critical events or experiences in our lives that precipitate the shedding of one’s self for the next that grew within it? I find the ideas on consciousness that I am just starting to touch on link with the cosmologies and belief systems of those I am reading about in the Amazonas although they are thousands of miles apart and in many ways the systems themselves are as diverse as this ancient experimentation of consciousness and freedom to move within different realities and collective spaces of consciousness that are forming the foundation for my enquiries. What consciousness is of our creation and that of the collective? If there is a defined break at all as they are one and the same? Especially when you consider the examples of the collective consciousness that includes that of the natural environment from flora to fauna?
When Jung talks of the dominant archetypes and in this instance I am thinking of specifically predators, where is the demarcation of these creatures as spirits and/or gods of our creation and that of the flesh and bone animal that we fear may view us a prey?
Recently I have been watching videos of shark encounters, one in particular referred to the search for the Maori mega shark or Mango Taniwha, viewed as a shark spirit if I understand correctly. When the two men descend into the cage they film this female Great White or Tommy shark and she looks to be heavily pregnant and possibly 12 or 13 feet. There is a second video that claims 7m which would equal 23ft. The way she (in both instances) moves merging into the blue is absolutely terrifying and seductive simultaneously. This is probably my greatest fear that of the shark attack which for anyone that has seen the film Jaws will probably understand especially when seen at a stupidly young age where the fear gave body to the archetype that needed experience to feed life into it. She was stunning in every way and probably would have promoted a heart attack in me if I was in that shark cage that was completely open on one side!!
I have been watching animal predator attacks and encounters and I have noticed that the language used to describe maneaters or animal/human attacks engages the language use when you watch a serial killer documentary. The animal is completely anthropomorphised into a ‘killer’ as we understand that concept to the point where the animal to given a conscious morality and is witnessed through its attack of making or choosing the wrong action and in the worst cases vilified to the point of evil.
I wonder if animals have the breath of mental health illnesses that humans do? Do they have tendencies where such a categorisation would be correct? I haven’t read enough to know better but I assume so to some extent which is why we try to retrain animals to then rehome them. Animals have personalities so I assume logically that illnesses relating to that must exist.
It's amazing how we project the best and the worst of ourselves onto the natural environment to make it a personal vendetta or an ode to beauty and transcendence to point of god creation. The book Monster of God (Quammen, 2004) I think echoed a lot of that thought and concern and the subsequent implication on the natural environment from these interactions and the price paid from a Romanian dictatorship to Aboriginal communities.
So where does this leave my research, read more, read more, read more, watch more Youtube videos looking for the god or the monster and throughout try to focus that snowstorm in my head to create something on a page that will make your gut shake.