The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

another excerpt from this book I’ve been reading:

“In most cases, according to scriptures and legend, it happened in a flash. Mohammed fasting and meditating on a mountainside near Mecca and-flash!-ecstasy, vast revelation and the beginning of Islam. Zoroaster hauling haoma water along the road and-flash!-he runs into the flaming form of the Archangel Vohu Mano, messenger of Ahura Mazda, and the beginning of Zoroastrianism. Saul of Tarsus walking along the road to Damascus and-flash!- he hears the voice of the Lord and becomes a Christian. Plus God knows how many lesser figures in the 2,000 years since then, Christian Rosenkreuz and his “God-illuminated” brotherhood of Rosicrucians, Emanuel Swedenborg whose mind suddenly “opened” in 1743, Meister Eckhart and his disciples Suso and Tauler, and in the twentieth-century Sadhu Sundar Singh -with-flash!- a vision at the age of 16 and many times thereafter; “…often when I come out of ecstasy I think the whole world must be blind not to see what I see, everything is so near and clear… there is no language which will express the things which I see and hear in the spiritual world…” Sounds like an acid head, of course. What they all saw in… a flash was the solution to the basic predicament of being human, the personal I, Me, trapped, mortal and helpless, in a vast impersonal It, the world around me. Suddenly! -All-in-one!- flowing together, I into It, and It into Me, and in that flow I perceive a power, so near and so clear, that the whole world is blind to. All the modern religions, and the occult mysteries, for that matter, talk about an Other World – whether Brahma’s or the flying saucers’ – that the rational work-a-day world is blind to. The-so-called!friends-rational world. If only they, Mom&Dad&Buddy&Sis, dear-but-square ones, could but know the kairos, the supreme moment… The historic visions have been explained in many ways, as the result of epilepsy, self-hypnosis, changes in metabolism due to fasting or actual intervention by gods-or drugs: Zoroastrianism began in a grand bath of haoma water, which was the same as the Hindu soma, and was unquestionably a drug. The experience!

– pages 127-128 of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe (1968)

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