Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dude, am I tripping or is that a burning bush?

Kind of embarrassing that I missed this one, a story that popped up some 5 months ago in March 2008, but it's still blog worthy.

Moses Was High on Drugs, Israeli Researcher Says.
Psychedelic Cocktail May Explain Vision of the Burning Bush, Professor Says

The professor in question is Benny Shanon. He says you can find the same plants on the Sinai Peninsula that you find in the Amazon, where these plants are used to make a mind-bending hallucegenic cocktail. (One of many versions of the news story can be seen here.) Not only was Moses on the stuff, says the prof, but perhaps his followers, too. That means they were understanding when he came down off the mountain and said "Thou shalt not kill, and does anybody have any Cheetos?"

Any story like this, attributing less than divine cause to the great moments in the Bible, immediately draws scalding criticism. Hearken back to the "DaVinci Code" phenomenon, for example. For some people, the lessons in religious teaching are no good unless you have all the special effects. It's not enough for a human person to teach about faith or love or devotion - you have to have two of every animal, and water turning into blood, and people who live 900 years. Great plot, but what about the character development?

I think anybody who has imbibed even a mild hallucinogen can see the potential truth in this "stoned Moses" theory. Even a stiff dose of cold medicine can make you think you're hearing the voice of God, not to mention taking something really potent. Consider the peyote cults of the southwest as just one example, or the ritual Indian fasting and deprivation on the vision quest, which leads to the same hallucinatory state. There are those moments, whether on a good or a bad trip, when everything is understood - and if that is not a state of spiritual enlightenment, I don't know what is.

That's not to say you can't get on that same plane without taking drugs. God knows (and I know he knows because he spoke to me after the third bottle of Nyquil) that I am no proponent of taking drugs. (Keeping in mind that I learned from my dad that "beer is like food" so that's not a drug, right?) It's easy to see that some people can reach some other state of existence through the power of their minds (and souls?) Something that in some cultures would be called meditation, and in others, just called praying.

That is also not to say that everybody who "hears the voice of God" goes on to be a great leader for the good of mankind, or even a team player. Seems like the news is full of people slaughtering their families and claiming God was telling them to do it. In fact, there are more of these nutjobs than there are Moseses (or is that Mosii?)

Bottom line: don't know if it matters if Moses was a user. Wherever he got the idea for those 10 commandments, they seem to make sense. And the whole story made a swell movie, so we all win.


Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

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