Are You Shpongled?


Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong. – Terence McKenna

Transcendental meditation is silly. There is nothing to transcend. What we see is what we get. If you find reality to be a drag, that’s on you. You are viewing it through narrow glasses rendered nearly opaque by layers and layers of cultural conditioning, societal expectations, media suggestion, and ego-based desires. But you can remove those glasses, if you have the stomach for it.

I’ve written about calm abiding, insight meditation, expansion of consciousness and Eastern philosophy ad nauseum on this page, but lately it strikes me that the written word is about as effective in getting to the heart of such matters as is a sanitary pad in absorbing Lake Michigan.

So if words cannot convey a method for altering the contents of the mind, how can anyone even embark on such a mental excursion? There are hallucinogens, of course. LSD, peyote, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT — take your pick (but avoid ecstasy, please). The problem with the use of these substances is that once the effects wear off, the significant discoveries made during the temporary psychedelic experience will soon fade, leaving the user even more dissatisfied with unadorned reality than they were before they took the drug.

Enter Simon Posford and Raja Ram, known collectively as Shpongle. Their music has been described variously as psychedelic, electronica, ambient, psybient and trance, but these labels are pathetically inadequate in describing their multi-layered soundscapes that literally defy categorization. To date, Shpongle has released five albums of pure sonic bliss: “Are You Shpongled?” (1998), “Tales of the Inexpressible” (2001), “Nothing Lasts…But Nothing Is Lost” (2005), “Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland” (2009), and “Museum of Consciousness” (2013). Weaving high-tech studio wizardry with organic instrumentation and bizarrely manipulated field recordings, the duo creates music that has the power to permanently change the way you perceive the phenomenal world.

But as inadequate as language is in the transmission of non-conceptual wisdom, it is equally as impotent in explaining the beautiful mind-fuck one experiences when listening to the sounds of Shpongle. So if you’re ready to internalize the possibility that everything you know is wrong, here’s a little taste:

21 thoughts on “Are You Shpongled?

    1. It doesn’t really work for what I was discussing because it is only mildly hallucinogenic with significant amphetamine qualities and artificial euphoria from bonding with dopamine receptors. Plus, what I described as a mild disappointment upon coming down from the others is often extreme depression for several days in the wake of taking MDMA. Or to put it more concisely: ecstasy is a party drug and as such, not really suited to consciousness exploration.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I must admit to ignorance on this one. Although I guess that means I’m referring to the street variety. I was aware that it had been marketed as a psychological drug in the early 1900s, but I didn’t realize there was a significant difference between that and what’s available now. That being said, often what people pass off as LSD also contains lots of superfluous garbage.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That was why I asked. It truly is the “garbage” from basement labs that has affected so much of these sort of chemical enhancers. The points in your post, however, are very valid.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Brande asked the question I was going to ask.

        I have a friend (wink, wink) who has friends that have recently began to indulge in ecstasy on a fairly regular basis and have asked this friend (wink, wink) to participate sometime. This friend (wink, wink) has been tempted, but hasn’t tried anything remotely psychedelic since around the time Bush I promised no new taxes.

        Your “no” and my friend’s (wink, wink) wife’s “no” helps to cement that argument, which probably never really was one. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You can advise your friend that you have a blogging friend who tried it about a half dozen times over the years to find it had no effect whatsoever. Then this stubborn friend of yours made 2 more attempts that finally did have an effect, at which time he decided it was perhaps the most overrated drug known to man.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Terence McKenna explained to me that all religions stem from early man…ape-like hominids…hunting through the plains and ingesting large quantities of psychedelic mushrooms…which grew wild. The visions and hallucinations got painted on the cave walls…and morphed into modern religion. I will search out these musicians and listen. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Terence has many fascinating theories based on scant information, but I love his work just the same. The reason I specifically chose a quote by Mr. McKenna is because the guys in Shpongle are pretty into him, frequently sampling (and manipulating) his speech in their songs.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Like The Tell of Captain Walker, from Mad Max, it may be a misunderstanding: a beautiful, rich, compelling misunderstanding compounded by errors of memory and language.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s