Joe C
by on August 22, 2019

“I have no gift to bring

Pa rum pum pum pum

That's fit to give our king

Pa rum pum pum pum”

-  The Little Drummer Boy

Written by Katherine Kennicott Davis

"…precious stones are precious because they bear a faint resemblance to the glowing marvels seen with the inner eye of the visionary. “The view of that world,” says Plato, “is a vision of blessed beholders”; for to see things “as they are in themselves” is bliss unalloyed and inexpressible."

-Aldous Huxley in Heaven and Hell


I want to talk about the themes of royalty and luxury in the psychedelic experience, and specifically the mescaline experience. In Heaven and Hell, Aldous Huxley talks about how he thinks precious gems and metals such as gold and silver are only attractive because they bear a “faint resemblance” to something far grander that is part of the visionary experience. There is an interesting contrast within psychedelic culture here between hippies who think capitalism should be denounced and Huxley who is stating that jewels and gold are the very epitome of the psychedelic experience. Of course there is a difference between gems and money, but the point is nonetheless not trivial.

When Psychonauts use religious language to describe psychedelic experiences, some might be skeptical. But the fact is, for certain experiences no other words feel appropriate or close to sufficient. Once you have the psychedelic religious experience, you will no longer question this use of language. Similarly for certain experiences only the language of luxury, royalty, kings, queens, gold, silver, rubies, sapphires is relevant.

The human experience is fundamentally characterized by the desire to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. To engage in this dichotomy requires a sense of what the ultimate standard for pleasure is. You have an idea in your mind of the best possible scenario. In the same sense as “I think therefore I am”, your ability to conceive of this scenario means you are wired to have this ultimate experience. The notion of being a king or queen represents the ultimate standard for success, power and luxury. This is highly representative of the ultimate standard for positive experience we all have.

If there is a king of a nation who lives a life of complete power and luxury, we must distinguish between the social role of a king and the experience of a king. There is an essence to being a King or Queen which is separate from the social role of a King or Queen. The mescaline experience makes clear that being a King or Queen is fundamentally an experience of consciousness and a way of looking at the world. In the same way that the “man in the sky” conception of God is insulting to true religious experience, the “brutal dictator” conception of King is insulting to a true experience of Divine Psychedelic Royalty. Any human being can have the experience of being a King or Queen because fundamentally this is an experience, not something relating to material possessions or power.

But we do have to give credit where credit is due: there is an element of being a dictator, of having unlimited power and freedom and luxury, which is a very illustrative and metaphorically useful way of understanding what a real King or Queen is. Precious gems are a good way of comprehending psychedelic luxury, even if in the words of Huxley they only “bear a faint resemblance to the glowing marvels seen with the inner eye of the visionary.”

I suffered from social anxiety for much of my life, and a visionary experience was the first step toward healing. To have social anxiety actually requires a fair bit of self-importance. You have to think you are pretty important to care so much about how you come across. In the vision, this becomes clear and I am a King who has just issued a decree condemning the structure of reality. The universe “has no gifts to bring” me and I am unsatisfied. The theme of royalty is already apparent, but a recontextualization soon occurs which The Little Drummer Boy for me is a metaphor of. This song explains the recontextualization better than I can.

The universe, over which I rule, sings:

“I have no gift to bring

Pa rum pum pum pum”

As a ruthless king I prepare to put forth a harsh sentence upon the structure of reality. I have nothing but hate for reality, and it has just stated that it has no gifts for me. Furthermore, reality is arrogant enough to sing this as if something to be proud of.

“That's fit to give our king

Pa rum pum pum pum”

The thing with recontextualization is, something originally and understandably interpreted as negative can be reframed as positive. I thought the universe was telling me it had no gifts for me. In fact, it was telling me it can’t conceive of a gift that is actually good enough to be worthy of giving me. Psychedelic healing does not change the facts. Psychedelic healing changes the context of the facts.

“Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum

On my drum? (on my drum?)

On my drum?”

All this time, the universe was trying to play a song for me, but I was casting judgement upon it.

“Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum

The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum

(I played) I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum

(I played) I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum”

At this point, the universe did play a song for me. The universe played the best song it can possibly play. At one point, I kept repeating the phrase in my head, “It’s literally made of pure fucking gold”. On earth precious metals are rare and make up less than 1% of reality. This is a good metaphor for how we feel about reality generally. We think reality is mostly bad and only a small part of it is good. You can’t condemn part of reality without condemning part of yourself. The realization is that reality is “literally made of pure fucking gold” and is entirely perfect.

The mescaline experience contrasts with the psilocybin experience in an important sense. The psilocybin experience is very nondual so that dichotomies dissolve and become less pronounced and relevant. With mescaline dichotomies become more pronounced and relevant. This is why mescaline is deeply related to sexuality; sexuality requires dichotomy. The notions of royalty and luxury require dichotomy; there must be some system of ranking for there to be a best option. For being a King or Queen to be meaningful, there must be some opposite. The opposite, perhaps, is some peasant who lives in a hut with no possessions. These are metaphors for a peasant may have an experience of psychedelic royalty and the king of a nation may be a psychedelic peasant. These social roles only bear a faint resemblance to the reality of inner experience and the scope of what is possible. Instead of condemning reality, we are condemning the condemning of reality. But truly, even condemning of reality is made of gold.

The opposite of social anxiety is not pretending to be normal to fit in or achieving some baseline level of social competence. The opposite of social anxiety is divine psychedelic royalty. I will never hear this song without thinking about this experience.

The fundamental issue with the mainstream mental health community is that it strives to help below average people achieve an average and baseline level of functionality. The goal is mediocrity. People don't even see mental health professionals in the first place unless they are below average and want to become average. Setting average as the target is unmotivating and pathetic. Let's raise the bar and replace the goal of mediocrity with the goal of profound abundance beyond your wildest dreams. Let's make divine psychedelic royalty the new standard of the mental health community. When you view yourself as a King or Queen, you don't settle for average.

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