Since this is an interesting topic, I’d like to look a little closer.
You said, “I’ve found knowledge to be a contaminant.”
How is it a contaminant?
It’s important t be as specific as possible when looking at questions of this scale and possible impact. So, what I am asking is for something like specific examples of a specific contaminant event. What was contaminated? How did you know it was contaminated? Did you test for contamination, or did you just get a result that you didn’t like?
Now, I have a number of contamination type stories from personal experience. many many many times I have watched my mind, or indirectly the minds of others, distort the experience in various ways, as a result of preferences, expectations, beliefs, emotional preferences, fears and desires, attachments and repulsions, mistakes of identification, misheard words, and much much more.
Let me give you an example of a story I consider a contamination story.
I was in my twenties, and took LSD the way i usually do, with a visiting friend, and we were doing the type of exploring I like to do, using mild ritual guidances to direct the experience, talking and interacting, sharing visions we were having, etc.
We had been outside in the woods and came back to my house to warm up. I made tea. I used peppermint that I had picked and dried from the bank of a stream that runs near the house.
I drink the tea. It is very strong and the acrid peppermint is very intense in my mouth. It’s the right temp and I down about two thirds quickly.
Sitting there, cup in hand, I think about the peppermint plants. And I am suddenly struck by a conviction, a powerful belief. That I had not picked peppermint, but poison hemlock. I look at the cup, and think about the amount I consumed. And I realize with utter certainty that I have about 30 minutes to live. The dose was not survivable.
My friend had not drunk the peppermint. I reach out and take the cup from him and say, “Don’t drink this. It’s not good.” he has no idea why or what is going on in me.
And then, the LSD increases in intensity by about ten times. I know I am dead. I know how I will die. I will start feeling the suppression of muscles in ten minutes, and suffocate before thirty minutes are over. But I don’t want to panic my friend. I have no antidotes there. There is no way to get me to medical help in time. I will tell him after the paralysis starts, and before I lose the ability to speak. Let him have the ten minutes.
The instant I make that decision, I am hurled into the most intense near-death experiences of my life. It would take hours to describe even the basic outlines. I completely accepted death, and I died. I knew what the dead and the bornless know… It was and remained one of the most importantexperiences of my life, a pivotal point, and it has shaped everything I have done since.
Obviously, I am not dead.
After spending what seemed like hours in death, I came back to awareness in my body. I realize i can see the clock on the stove. A bit more than eight minutes have passed. “Funny,” I thought. "I should have started having trouble with breathing a few minutes ago. I should be feeling terrible right now. But I felt pretty good.
I turn my head to my friend/. i shouldn’t have been able to do that either. I think I said “how you doing”. he startles a bit, looks at me and says “wow I was just having the most intense energy experience. White lights.”
“Me too.”, I said. I lift up a hand. Everything is blazing with clear white light. But my hand functions fine.
And I realize I was wrong. I had not picked poison hemlock. It was in fact peppermint. I stand, which was not easy, and go check the jar. Smelled it. Looked at the leaves. Peppermint. Definitely. I start laughing. I laughed for five minutes, could not speak, could barely breathe. I thought, this is ironic, I might die from not being able to breathe, cuz my ribs hurt from all this laughing.
Now, there is more to the story. But here’s the point.
This is a story of the effect of contamination. I contaminated my experience with a false belief.
Even tho it was one of h best most important experiences of my life, I DID NOT DIE. I wan’;t even near death. I was totally fine all along.
Even tho I know, with a certainty that I can never shake or undo, exactly what it feels like to be dead, what is it that I really know?
I know what it’s like to imagine that you are dead.
Now I think I triggered exactly the same brain chemicals that occur in a near death experience caused by drowning or accident or overdose or any such similar thing. I have spent much effort in exploring that experience, comparing to near-death reports, and more.
But it’s a contaminated experience.
Now, that’s an example of the type of report I’d like to get from you about how you experience knowledge, and in particular scientific knowledge, as a contaminant.