Although it is not a critical part of this discourse, the sad connection that for me shows a weakness from the 1960’s and tends to weaken Sheldrake’s credibility, is the incorporation of psychedelic drugs into the worldview, uncritically. It seems to me that an ideology, philosophy, or spirituality that tends to use psychedelics as even an enhancer, cannot help but be suspect at the outset. Graham Hancock is another one, in my opinion, who’s work is important and truthful, as well as challenging to the mainstream, yet who’s credibility is damaged by his allegiance to psychedelics.
Now I realize that what both Sheldrake and Hancock believe and propose does not require drugs in any way for their truth or practice. However, in the discussion of consciousness, it is inevitable that the subject of altered states of consciousness comes up, and of course the part that psychedelics have played in the past. Neither one seems to be willing to take a principled stand against the practice, and apparently that is because they do not have any such principle.
That seems to be, as I have pointed out already, an unfortunate artifact of the period in which Sheldrake and others came to prominence, but many others have been able to leave it behind, both in practice and principle.
Ultimately, the ideas and arguments that Sheldrake proposes are well worth the listen, and he has a good handle on the trends within the culture. I am encouraged by his perspective, even while not aligning entirely with his spiritual and religious stance, he does have a way of shedding light on my own position. Very interesting.
Sheldrake’s loyalty to the memory of his good friend Terrence McKenna is understandable, as is his loyalty to that era, but I cannot help but wonder how it might have been different had McKenna lived long enough to manifest the mental and physical decrepitude that often is associated with long time drug use.
Ultimately, my disappointment arises with respect to the psychedelics insofar as my own vision of hope is one that incorporates a better and higher knowledge and use of our own consciousness in meditation and prayer such that the use of mind altering drugs would be not only unnecessary but manifestly counter productive and inhibiting to the true expansion of the mind.
Loyality to Jordan Peterson
On another note, the interview points to an interesting phenomena. David Fuller, the interviewer, on his Youtube channel Rebel Wisdom, seems to be all in with respect to the thinking of Jordan Peterson. So much so that he has developed an an admiration and loyalty of his own.
Sheldrake speaks, quite rightly, of the evasiveness of Jordan Peterson on the question of whether he is a Christian or not. As he says, it is understandable in one sense, that were he to commit one way or another he would lose an edge in the overall discussion and such as his mission is, or has become, Peterson may inhibit his own credibility by appearing partisan. He is in a unique position at this point in time, and it may well be that his own judgment tells him that the appearance of partisanship would limit his effectiveness.
That is the most positive take on the issue. It also has been pointed out that it may be motivated by monetary or ego considerations. When it comes to motivation we can only know what we are told, either verbally or through actions.
Personally, when asked, I have always pointed out to those Christians who would like to have the intellect of Jordan Peterson firmly in their camp, that he has never publicly committed to Christianity to my knowledge and so we must take him as what he says he is and no more, welcome his defense of Christianity from the psychological point of view and leave it at that until he declares otherwise.