On 'Natural Born Alchemist'
This time around, I sit down for a chat with Alex, host of the Natural Born Alchemist website and podcast. Initially we discuss the contents of my book, Dive Manual: Empirical Investigations of Mysticism, and the related details of evolutionary psychology, CG Jung, dream analysis and the traditional forms of alchemy found in doctrines like Hermeticism and Taoism.
We also discuss the archetypal symbols found in the psychedelic experiences of mushrooms, ayahuascha, and iboga, and we heavily investigate the fallacies of “following your bliss” and other New Age half-truths. While bliss is not a bad thing, nor is it foolish to try and attract positive things into your life, these two statements have become mantras with very specific, chintzy, and inauthentic connotations. Ultimately these related connotations represent a misinterpretation of hypnosis, depth psychology, and even comparative religion.
Alex was delightful and insightful conversation, having a lot of interesting anecdotes and even unique sources for me to look into for myself. I’m happy to have spoken with him!
Here is the link to the interview (which you can also find on my Spotify interview playlist post)
Now, for some of you readers, this might get into TLDR territory. Disclaimer: this ends the quick synopsis of the interview, and begins some detail I feel the need to go into about topics that are in the interview, but extend far beyond it.
Alex and I get into a dissection of comparative religious symbols and evolutionary psychology, and how today’s “Cancel Culture” has created a convoluted era for both fields of study. Both evolutionary psychology and comparative religion have intrinsic association to gender polarity of Masculine and Feminine. These studies are entirely inseparable from this dichotomy—but let’s be abundantly clear about all this: admitting that a dichotomy exists does not mean that there isn’t plenty of room for a fluid sexual spectrum. The genders in some ways are metaphorically like the north and south pole of our biology. The tendencies of the earth are largely regulated by the poles, but that doesn’t mean that what exists between the poles is irrelevant…
Take that metaphor how you will, perhaps it’s a bit too esoteric.
You can also consider Masculine to be archetypally associated with the proton, and Feminine to be archetypally associated with the electron. While these subatomic terms are much newer than the esoteric symbols, history holds true to the statement that these subatomic principles are symbolically represented as Masculine and Feminine in very linear ways. We may also take note of the classical Taoist alchemical symbolism of the Yin and Yang.
The polarity of the human experience is ever-present, and the polarity of the physical genders is just the tip of the iceberg.
So when it comes to “Cancel Culture” and “Political Correctness”, I’ll extend a little bit of a proverbial olive branch here. I don’t judge any sexual act as long as it is between fully consenting adults, and I fully advocate every person’s freedom to express their individuality. Live and let live.
But there is a difference between your perceptible, cognitive relationship to the spectrum of sexuality, and the nature of the physical gender dichotomy. Let me repeat: these two concepts are different but intersecting.
I support someone that wants to use alternative pronouns, but at the end of the day, when it comes to crunching the numbers of scientific data regarding studies like biology and evolutionary psychology, we almost are all physically born either a man or a woman. It’s not bigotry or a lack of acceptance. These are just scientific classifications, they are not judgments about your personal identity.
My research does not deal with politics, but in today’s strange “Cancel Culture”, I do feel it necessary to at least clear the air on my thoughts related to classical esotericism and this postmodern era we live in.
As I said before: live and let live. Let’s all live out our own individual freedom in the name of a moral altruism that doesn’t subjugate the weak, the young, or the minority. But when social activism transcends a fight for civil rights into a realm of blatant censorship and convolution of mere scientific data, this creates clear and evident problems. If you think that’s bigoted, I think you’re being emotional about something that is not emotional by its nature, but rather scientific, and I hope that we can agree to disagree.