How Psychedelics Replaced Religion as the Source for Spiritual Growth
Psychedelics can give you direct access to the transcendent and remove the need for a middleman. But don’t celebrate just yet.
Everyone knows the Friedrich Nietzsche quote, God is dead, but few know it in context and even fewer, myself included, know what it means. But I have some ideas.
Here it is in its entirety:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
I don’t think it means that our need for God is dead or that we’ve evolved past the search for the transcendent.
He meant the current model of God, the Western, Christian conception, or, more to the point, the church no longer worked for people. People began to see through the bureaucracy, power games, and atrocities it professed to commit in God’s name as detached or antithetical to the core message. The Church became the sole conduit through which people could access God, often for a price.
But I also think he was hesitant about the implications of that. He famously predicted that the vacuum left by the Church would be supplanted by the State, the State was governed only by the Will to Power, and that would be manipulated to catastrophic effect — a prophecy that proved out less than 50 years with the deaths of hundreds of millions in World War I, II, the Russian Revolution, and the Holocaust.
I hope we’ve seen the danger in turning moral authority over to the state and following it blindly. But that doesn’t mean we need to return to the Church. I think the need for God and the search for moral order has been rediscovered in older, non-western traditions and and the right relationship to God is a personal one. not granted through the church or the state.