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The Drunken Universe

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Oct. 16th, 2010 | 03:44 pm

Back when I was in graduate school and was poking around in the library for accessible sources related to Sufism, I came across a collection of Persian Sufi poetry (in translation) entitled The Drunken Universe. It made quite an impression and, as these were still pot-smoking days for me, it is perhaps no surprise that I had some powerful psychedelic experiences while reading the poetry. While I followed up later with other collections of Sufi poetry, none ultimately had the same impact as that one and--in fact--in comparison with that initial experience, reading the poetry (in translation, of course) sometimes came to seem more like a burden and an obligation rather than a continuing journey of discovery.

Something inspired me this morning to locate references to that volume online. I discovered that it had been co-edited by Peter Lamborn Wilson (a.k.a. Hakin Bey) and by Nasrollah Pourjavady, with whom he had also co-authored a book on the poetry and history of the Nimatullahi Order. Since the Nimatullahi were the order in which I received my first initiation, I found this connection quite interesting, as if the poetry had led me subliminally somehow to that order for initiation. I also found it interesting that Wilson/Bey is well known in the psychelic community for being an outspoken promoter of substance use. I've even heard a speech online where he advocates against legalization of marijuana, as it would threaten to shut down the business of the hippies who have been funding psychelic research with the proceeds from their pot sales. Basically, he seems like an acid-head crackpot, but still he would seem to advocate a lively, non-conformist approach to Sufism, even while maintaining connections with "respectable" liberal Sufi organizations.

Well, OK, for what that's worth. Then I found this: http://libcom.org/library/paedophilia-and-american-anarchism-the-other-side-of-hakim-bey
and this: http://libcom.org/library/leaving-out-ugly-part-hakim-bey

As with recent online searches related to Frithjof Schuon and John Tavener's evident admiration for his writings in some of his recent work, unsavory allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced once again in connection with what I had formerly regarded as explorations of spiritual paths in the interests of positive personal growth. If the allegations are true (and there does seem to be circumstantial evidence highly suggestive that they might be true), it seems that some people who strive to get beyond conventional, restrictive categories of being may do so in order to rationalize behavior that clearly involves deception, manipulation, and exploitation of others.

My personal experiences with people in alternative spiritual groups also indicates that the groups may be magnetically attractive to people who are seeking to heal from known (or perhaps unconciously suppressed) abuse in their own pasts. Not quite what I had in mind as I tried to reach out in my efforts to overcome the prudishness and lack of imagination evident in my suburban Catholic upbringing.

Om Kreem Kalyai Namaha,


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Comments {2}


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from: mysticactive
date: Nov. 2nd, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)

I had heard about Schuon and also I had sort of assumed this about Wilson (although it seems worse than I imagined). I guess for me it doesnt make a huge impact since I dont really see either one as important teachers (other than intellectually, in the case of Schuon...but I find most of the perennialists intersting). Basically, I agree with you, people come tot he path seeking alchemical transformation. As we have discussed before (and I know others are big on this point also, see the link I am adding below) it seems to be a bad idea to try to skip the part where you actually deal with what's ailing you before you start trying to transcend it (or you just justify it...in these cases). But yes, the people that come to the path often seem to be more wounded than others, I've noticed.

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Khalid Hussain

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from: khalid_hussain
date: Nov. 2nd, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)

Part of the mystery seems to be that unscrupulous people can sometimes galvanize others, triggering releases of energy that they can use for more constructive purposes. Maybe this is, in part, what is meant by Crazy Wisdom, Chaos Magick, etc. The risks of "collateral damage" (potentially of a long-lasting kind) seem pretty high along such a "path".

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