Culture needs ecstasy but doesn’t trust it. Personal access to ecstatic states is the axis on which the wheel of culture turns. But people who are fulfilled and ecstatic are difficult to control. Thus culture regulates ecstasy, making it artificially scarce and expensive. It disintermediates personal access to ecstasy for purposes of motivation and control.
Culture evolves to fully exploit the possibilities inherent in its form, then devolves. Like all fabrications, a culture has a beginning, middle and end. The parameters set in the beginning are developed in the middle until the form is complete, then it naturally degenerates until a new cultural paradigm takes its place.
For example, music culminated its development of form in the late 1960s, and has been in marked degeneration since. Miles Davis correctly observed that John Coltrane had expressed, and even transcended, the possibilities of western musical form. Davis then sought to explore simplicity and emptiness: “less is more”. This brought the Jazz form to completion, and it is now in predictable decline.
Music is an indicator of a culture’s emotional life. It clearly reveals something vaguely sensed by many: that the profoundly anti-ecstatic western culture has, in some sense, passed an important developmental milestone, and is now in irreversible decline. Many people today anticipate a new social contract, but there are few serious candidates at this time—only small scattered experiments in cultural alternatives. Therefore we live in an age characterized by cultural degeneration.
Culture manages ecstasy to control population. Tribal dominator cultures optimize for birth rate, not ecstatic consciousness. Thus recreational sex, entheogenic drugs and other convenient forms of ecstasy are prohibited or suppressed, and substituted with dependency-producing corporate products. But as global resources stretch to their limit, it is clear that the dominator cultural strategy has peaked, over-reached, “jumped the shark”.
Tantra is a powerful subtle technology giving direct access to the controls of being and ecstasy. It means dealing authentically with life while creating one’s future embodiment and conditions through the process of becoming. Tantra empowers us to transform karma into dharma. Tantric technology allows us to independently create the state of being we need to completely disentangle ourselves from unwanted relationships and perfect our consciousness in the here and now.
Ecstasy is required for happy, healthy human life. If people are denied personal direct access to ecstasy through prohibition or scarcity, they will find an alternate source. A new source of direct access to ecstasy that becomes a popular movement can replace the current dominator culture with a new paradigm. Therefore the current culture regards Tantra with suspicion.
For Tantra offers not one, but hundreds of new gateways to ecstasy. Most are easy and free, giving access to ecstasy for the price of only knowledge, self-discipline, and the time and energy to practice them. Tantra is not concerned with morality, only with results. Therefore Tantric methods may include sexuality, intoxication and other culturally proscribed techniques.
Tantra accepts any method, even extreme ones, as long as everything is open, consensual and no one is harmed. The point is to practice: to experience the silence, to enter into the transcendence. And the background of Tantra is the Buddha’s teaching, Theravada. The Buddha gives the ontology and philosophy, and Śiva, Saraha and other great Tantrikas give the methodology of ecstasy.
If people follow these simple and easy methods then there is no need for culture or morality, no need for religion or government. People can live simple lives based on natural pleasures, without need for technological culture and other fabrications. Enlightenment or self-realization is the real ecstasy of life.