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GregKasarik

Sunday Night Safran & Transcendent Compounds - 5th Aug

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Good luck Greg, I will be tuning in in just over an hour :lol:

Whoops, I for some reason thought it was at 5pm. Seems it is at 9pm. Nonetheless I will be tuning in!

Edited by Shamanistic

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Tune into Triple J about now, he's just about to come on.

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Hey, I didn't know you were going to be on but I was falling asleep and heard the word mescaline (been researching this compound of late) and had to stay up and listen. I think you were successful in getting your point across. At the very least I now know about the conference feat. Dennis McKenna and am looking forward to it. Love your work!

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Outstanding representation

:)

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Thanks for the positive feedback guys.

All in all I think it went quite well. I sounded far more centred and coherent than I felt! :)

I'd encourage people to help get the message out there through telling your friends and linking via facebook, twitter and wherever else.

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Start at 45 minutes.

Very much enjoying your talk Greg, you have a great talking voice and a lot of interesting things to say. Very impressive, wouldn't mind you doing a podcast of your own ;)

May not be able to finish this tonight, but really impressive. Thanks.

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You sounded very calm, rational and intelligent - as you clearly are. When speaking honestly and openly from the heart about something you care about it becomes an enjoyable experience rather than a fearful chore hey.

The EGA plug was great :)

With exposure like this we can educate the community at large that there are a number of us around that are embedded in plant use as a spiritual practice - yet we are happy, intelligent, sane, functioning & contributing members of society.

Thanks for finding your path and doing what you do - it helps the rest of us immensley

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Yeah nice one man I think you did really well too and you weren't overly serious or anything like you said.

It must be hard too when your trying to get a lot across as well as everything else so you definitely did a great job.

It was funny when Safran said how many people wrote to him saying how he should of consumed the peyote in all these different ways but he said he was instructed to just sip it over a long time so I wonder why they said that. But like you said there is a lot of different customs and maybe they feel its just a safer way for the inexperienced or something.

Keep it up bud :)

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It was a great listen mate, me and the missus thoroughly enjoyed, keep it up :)

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Very well presented Greg...

May I ask why you use the term religious as opposed to spiritual..?

Am not intending to be critical, I just find that "religious" for a lot of people has certain negative connotations.

Regardless, once again...well presented... :wink:

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Slightly off topic: I find the trend of hating "religion" to be a very tierd stereo type perpetrated by those who claim to be against such things as sterotypes. Its just a word :P

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Slightly off topic: I find the trend of hating "religion" to be a very tierd stereo type perpetrated by those who claim to be against such things as sterotypes. Its just a word :P

What you say has truth & merit eatfoo...mind you, the question was intended for Greg.

I myself have no problem with the word, I just think that Greg could widen his support base by using the alternative.

Some people have been misled in the name of religion & in having a negative experience can & do attach a certain negativity & stereotype to the word.

As you say, it is just a word, but then so are nigger, kyke & rag head. Words can hold a lot of power & this being the case, we should choose our words carefully. That is all I'm trying to say.

After hearing Greg talk the other night, I felt he articulated himself very well & as I said this was not meant as a criticism. Merely as something for him to ponder over.

Once again, well done Greg...you have my respect & admiration.

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More off-topic, but to most people in the world (usually nubs), a word is not just a word (i.e. it's not just its definition) but to them the word also fully implies the connotation. I learned a few years ago that most people don't even know what a connotation even is, never mind the ability to separate it.

Until most people realize that a word can imply a connotation in certain contexts, but be used in others and not imply it, then there's no point taking the route of exclaiming "it's just a word".

Lastly (on-topic), congratulations Greg, I felt you did a very brave thing and you did very well. You had a good voice, and you were pretty calm. There were a few things I found a bit hard to swallow though, which I'll elaborate on later.

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I thought it was OK, once again I like that you want to stand up for what you believe in. I was very saddened to hear factual errors & to hear Greg resort to the tactics of politicians with blanket moral judgements unsupported by the science.

"May I ask why you use the term religious as opposed to spiritual..?"

Because in Victoria there are provisions for religious freedom under the law, there are no prvisions for spiritual freedom, Greg has discussed this before: http://www.shaman-australis.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=30027&st=0&p=333356entry333356

I think you have come a long way Greg, your speaking has realy improved, I was suprised you stayed as calm as you did, have you been doing CBT or something?, you started to lose it a little when questioned about a messiah complex but brought it back quite well.

Your opening sentence "these are compounds that have been used literaly for thousands of years" is not true as LSD was only discovered in 1938, no biggie but I think you could get things a little tighter especialy in the opening sentence.

The whole Ketamine spiel I found realy disheartening I understand you want to make a ditinction between your "trancscendent compounds & drugs but when you resort to baseless moral judgement eg "owns your soul" you leave it wide open for the other side to do the same eg "drugs are bad, mmmkay" you do the same thing later on with alcohol now most people are smart enough to know while alcohol can be addictive their own personal experience shows that it it can be used responsibly & in moderation with beneficial outcomes for the user & is not addictive for everyone & does not 'own everyones soul'.

When you say alcohol is so toxic it is used as a disinfectant is very similiar to how the media uses sensationalist propaghanda to demonise other drugs like when they say GHB is so caustic its used as an industrial cleaner, dissolves plastic, blah blah. You don't seem to be able to make the distinction that used responsibly in moderation alcohol can be quite safe as 90% of the population know from their own experience & if you don't make that distinction & people don't believe what you have to say about alcohol how are you going to convince them on some of you less conventional ideas?. Also this could also be used against like saying harmala alakloids are so toxic they have been used to kill cancer.

Also when you say Ketamine damages your bladder you do not make the distinction that this is due to chronic abuse of the drug not responsible moderate use.

I do not like the way you state your own opinion as fact. Like saying these compounds belong to a larger group of drugs known as entheogens, that is your opinion & you should represent it as just that, personaly I do not consider any of these entheogens because of the connotations of that word. Or when you state Ketamine is an entheogen.

I liked that you plugged EGA but do not like the way you did it, I think you could have made it a little clearer that "transcendent compounds" are not actualy the focus of the conference & the larger community of EGA are not the same community of people who use "transcendent compounds". Also when you say what would happen if EGA promoted Heroin etc etc well there are people there who support the use of poppies & even heroin with a focus on harm minimisation Penny comes to mind & while EGA may not directly promote them it also does not promote your use of "Transcendant Compounds". EGA does not discrminate based purely on a substance.

I did'nt like your statement about where's the basic morality because it is morality that has made & kept these drugs illegal & I feel this is actualy the domain of science & reason not blind morals.

I feel you should have engaged Father Bob more, he is more the demographic you need to convert while you seemed to be preaching to the converted with Safran. Bob did try to engage you with his question about what is transcendent but you did'nt adress him & later on he thought you were picking on him, you realy do risk alienating that demographic when they are the ones you should realy be engaging.

I also feel you were alienating people when you said things like leary's disfunctional shenanigans.

Oh yeah the herb/drug Safran was talking about re moses & Mt sinai was Esphand Peganum harmala.

I'm glad to see you stand up for what you belive but I realy do think you could refine your approach. Best of luck with it.

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"peyote snobs" lol

Nice show Greg.

Nice constructive criticisms shruman. One point I might dispute is about the badmouthing of other drugs. Much as I would disagree with saying alcohol/ketamine/etc are soul-sucking toxic drugs, I can understand that this might be a valid way to gain greater public acceptance of the less-toxic phenethylamines & tryptamines, i.e. "well compared to this other stuff, these drugs are safe". Not saying that I think it's a good argument, just that it might be effective for some of the types of people who need convincing on this topic.

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Yeah I think thats fair enough Anodyne but I don't think what you propose is badmouthing I think it is merely presenting the facts.

"well compared to this other stuff, these drugs are safer" - I think is a valid argument as long as it is representive of the science.

Although this argument does not only apply to Greg's "Transcendent Compounds" it could be applied to drugs Greg has not included because of his personal saftey concerns, such as "compared to horse riding, MDMA is safer" which to me highlights the arbitrary nature of Gregs defining of "Transcendent Compounds".

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Yeah I think thats fair enough Anodyne but I don't think what you propose is badmouthing I think it is merely presenting the facts.

"well compared to this other stuff, these drugs are safer" - I think is a valid argument as long as it is representive of the science.

Ah, no - I actually meant that Greg's non-scientifically-supported arguments could be effective for his purposes. I would like it very much if drug laws were based on scientific evidence of their individual risks/benefits, but this clearly ain't so. I'm all for harm-minimisation through accurate information, but that doesn't seem to be the point here. If the aim is to get certain compounds accepted as religious sacraments, then non-scientific arguments could work. Of course, if this ever got to court such a strategy could backfire horribly, so it would probably be better to have rhetoric and scientific evidence working for you.

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Once again, thanks for the positive response and criticisms.

@ Space Cadet - You go to war with the words you have. I use the word religious because this is a word that has a particular meaning and purpose within Victorian law. It is also one which many people can relate to directly and is relevant with respect to my case that this issue is relevant to the fundamental right to religious freedom.

While in my case, "spirituality" would be a better term for my own particular framework of beliefs and practices, this "spirituality" is still regarded as "religion" under the law.

You are right that words are important. The fact is that some people are going to get their knickers in a twist as soon as "religion" gets mentioned. Certain people, have an irrational, obnoxious hatred of anything remotely religious, or spiritual and these people will white ant everything that I am doing, irrespective of whether my success would also benefit them in the long run. Thankfully, these people are a (loud) minority who can be mostly ignored.

@ Shruman. This is a radio show, not a lecture on psychopharmacology, anthropology and comparative religion. If I attempted an encyclopaedic declamation of the "facts" in order to ensure that it was completely error free I'd never communicate anything. Also, when in a live studio there is often not time to be exact, as the conversation moves and if you aren't agile, you'll be left floundering. Yes, the interview wasn't perfect, but few things in life ever are. It is a learning experience and I'll do better next time.

You seem strangely outraged that I argued my case and not yours. I stand by my comments about alcohol and ketamine and don't apologise for being negative about either of them, or using sound bites to get my points across. Sure, they are "safe" for the 90% of users who don't abuse them (although even moderate alcohol use has been shown to be damaging to health), but their highly addictive nature means that it is all to easy to fall into dysfunctional use of both compounds and anyone is potentially at risk. Those figures that I listed with respect to alcohol aren't just pulled out of my arse. They are the reality. Alcohol use carries a significant cost to both individuals and society and pretending otherwise does nobody any favours.

One of the things that really annoys me about the whole drugs debate is how those in favour are willing to ignore any sorts of harms, pretending that everything is just fine and dandy. On the other hand, those who are against them are incapable of seeing any particular good. As a result, most people that I speak to are woefully ignorant about the different hazards presented by different compounds and are subsequently ill prepared to deal with difficulties should they arise.

The scientific literature is quite clear with respect to the substances that I have identified as Transcendent Compounds being non addictive, non toxic and psychologically safe. This is the line that I have drawn in the sand and one that I am happy to defend. I will continue to highlight the hypocrisy of having a dangerous drug like alcohol as the only legal mind altering substance, while banning much safer compounds under the rubric of "community health and safety".

Edited by GregKasarik
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Glad you said all that shruman, because I was too lazy but it expresses almost exactly my thoughts.

*edit* Greg, sadly it seems like you still haven't learned to accept criticism very well. :BANGHEAD2:

One other thing: unqualified, the claim that that LSD, mushrooms etc are 'psychologically safe' is false and irresponsible.

Edited by chilli

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I think Greg did very well. I have to say, the religious aspect of Greg's talk is something I'm not keen on, but he clearly is a religious man and he also has a point in regards to the law. Little baby steps it feels sometimes, but against what we are dealing with then it's certainly an improvement.

I would love to see a purely scientific outlook to the way substances are treated, but it's hard to see how to get there with all the moral outrage, fear and confusion about these issues among the general populace, and the way politics works. We don't have politicians working in our best interest; they work towards what the polls say, which is largely dictated by the newspapers (corporatism) and religious organisations, and the people who shout loudest tending to have the floor. Scientists aren't good at shouting; the language is all wrong for that, so there is a distinct flaw in the human psyche coming from our genetic, animal heritage which is quite difficult to combat.

I'm torn here; I think Greg is doing a great thing, something I couldn't do myself, it would be nice if he took some of our ideas on board but I think he already has his conviction and plan to go forward. From the other threads, he's not going to change this unless he sees it not working.

As I said earlier, I enjoyed the talk,, it must have been interesting - possibly inspiring - to people new to the subject who haven't heard these ideas before so that can only be a good thing. If his plan goes ahead and he does manage to get certain psychedelics / entheogens available to certain people in certain circumstances, I see that as a foot in the door to push for more fair laws which allow anyone the use of these substances (and it's easy to claim that you are of a partcilar religious group, quite honestly - it's not easily questioned in our society) and then on to other substances.

Any progress in the right direction is a good thing, so far we have only seen more and more bans, we are not being listened to and we're not shouting loudly enough.

Sorry for the garbled post, its late for me and I'm tired, but very interested in what's happening here. I don't think it's good to get Greg offside; but it's also difficult to criticise him as he comes back very aggressively. Would like to see some middle ground.

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Good on you for getting on national radio and far be it from us armchair critics to whinge too much.

But by being out there and posting on here I assume you are soliciting feedback. I'd echo many of the above comments (the more respectful ones at least), and add the following:

Compared with the Roy & HG impersonators presenting the show, I really appreciated your contribution. It's almost pointless to have a radio show where the presenters make no real effort to inform themselves about the topic of discussion - no preparation before the program and more interested in goofing off during the program. More interested in quasi-intellectual (mock-?)drunken grandstanding.

If I were you I'd be trying to get on Radio National instead of JJJ. Chalk and cheese in terms of the quality and effort of the presenters, and the chance of audience members having some influence over government policy is much greater. You would be a great fit on several programs. Maybe The Spirit Of Things given your religious angle but I can think of half a dozen other programs that would be appropriate.

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"This is a radio show, not a lecture on psychopharmacology, anthropology and comparative religion. If I attempted an encyclopaedic declamation of the "facts" in order to ensure that it was completely error free I'd never communicate anything."

That is a cop out. To me you seemed more interested in lecturing than engaging both radio hosts in a discussion as I mentioned earlier. Admitedly very much not a lecture based on psychopharmacology anthropolgy or comparative religion but one based on your own moral compass.

"Also, when in a live studio there is often not time to be exact, as the conversation moves and if you aren't agile, you'll be left floundering.Yes, the interview wasn't perfect, but few things in life ever are. It is a learning experience and I'll do better next time."

I did not say I had a problem with you being exact actualy regarding exactness I said "no biggie but I think you could get things a little tighter" which you seem to agree with.

I had a problem with you deliberately misrepresenting the facts to suit your own moral agenda especialy regarding ketamine & alcohol as mentioned earlier.

"You seem strangely outraged that I argued my case and not yours."

"The fact is that some people are going to get their knickers in a twist as soon as "religion" gets mentioned. Certain people, have an irrational, obnoxious hatred of anything remotely religious, or spiritual and these people will white ant everything that I am doing"

outrage?... hardly..., it was intended to be constructive criticism & complementative but fine you love to play the pariah paint me as another torch carrying villager out to burn the mystic at the stake...

I don't understand how you would come to the conclusion that I would want you to argue my case, i was only trying to help you with yours. Personaly I would never use the pretense of religion to argue for rigths that should be afforded to all for reasons that have nothing to do with religion, I suspect you probly know this & were just using that as a thinly veiled attempt to have a jab at me.

"I stand by my comments about alcohol and ketamine and don't apologise for being negative about either of them, or using sound bites to get my points across. Sure, they are "safe" for the 90% of users who don't abuse them (although even moderate alcohol use has been shown to be damaging to health), but their highly addictive nature means that it is all to easy to fall into dysfunctional use of both compounds and anyone is potentially at risk."

Yes well I think you have now made it abundantly clear your not interested in genuine discussion or debate & are content to mirepresent the facts to suit your own moral agenda.

"Sure, they are "safe" for the 90% of users who don't abuse them"

That is a figure you have pulled out of your arse & its probly more like 99% for Ketamine & 95% for alcohol & I'm problly being generous to your side of the argument there.

"but their highly addictive nature means that it is all to easy to fall into dysfunctional use of both compounds and anyone is potentially at risk."

& your response to this is to adopt the failed policies of "Just Say NO" or as you put it "Just Don't Do It"?. I think if the WoD's has taught us anything it is that such simplistic soundbites are not effective policies. This approach is irresponsible & dangerous.

"(although even moderate alcohol use has been shown to be damaging to health)"

Once again you do not bother to mention moderate alcohol use has also been shown to be beneficial to health.

"Those figures that I listed with respect to alcohol aren't just pulled out of my arse. They are the reality. Alcohol use carries a significant cost to both individuals and society and pretending otherwise does nobody any favours."

Agreed but how we propose to deal with them could not be more different Moralistic Abstinence vs Harm Minimisation.

"One of the things that really annoys me about the whole drugs debate is how those in favour are willing to ignore any sorts of harms, pretending that everything is just fine and dandy. On the other hand, those who are against them are incapable of seeing any particular good. As a result, most people that I speak to are woefully ignorant about the different hazards presented by different compounds and are subsequently ill prepared to deal with difficulties should they arise."

Realy you don't see the hipocrisy?, you are incapable of seeing any good in Ketamine, Alcohol, Cannabis...I'm sure that must realy annoy you...

"The scientific literature is quite clear with respect to the substances that I have identified as Transcendent Compounds being non addictive, non toxic and psychologically safe. This is the line that I have drawn in the sand and one that I am happy to defend. I will continue to highlight the hypocrisy of having a dangerous drug like alcohol as the only legal mind altering substance, while banning much safer compounds under the rubric of "community health and safety"."

I do not think the line you have drawn is quite clear in regard to the scientific literature in actual fact I think in some regards it is quite arbitrary. Take MDMA for example, previosly included in you list but you quickly removed it when I pointed out it has a similiar level of acute toxicity compared to Alcohol. Now I do not think that a simple measure of acute toxicity shoud determine how safe a subsatnce is. In real life things as comparitively non toxic as horse riding have been shown to be less safe then MDMA.

"Thankfully, these people are a (loud) minority who can be mostly ignored."

Do you not see the irony?

I do apreciate what Greg has done, even if it is for the mere fact of bringing these laws to our attention. I still think the best way these laws could be progressed would be for a well established organized religion to be persecuted for their beliefs & to take it to court as we have seen this is how these laws have progressed in other countries. Whereas the phenomena of making up religions to suit the legislation seems to be going nowhere.

Edited by shruman
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If Ayahuasca was allowed to be used in a religious context, what exactly would that entail? Surely it's not so simple to simply state that you are a registered Catholic (as it states on my birth certificate) and therefore it's okay to use it. I'm sure that the clergy might have something to say about the contextual use anyway, if they accept it as part of Catholic Doctrine, then perhaps they would want to control the use among the clergy.

This is incredibly restrictive and actually wouldn't help push the tolerance agenda forward at all! Instead it seems to aim control of it's use by the very people who may be least able to interpret the visions and emotional release in a useful context. I have known a lot of priests, i grew up in an extremely intolerant Roman Catholic society, and the use of psychedelics in this context is quite horrifying to me.

I think it would be utterly disastrous, in fact. Maybe it can work with limited, enlightened groups like Santo Daime - but those kind of groups are quite unusual and very different to the usual religious organisations that I know.

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