Ep 241 – Space Cowboy Spirituality


Posted December 13th, 2015

Glenn, Randy, Heather, and Jake are joined by Space Cowboy (not his real name) to talk about this one-time True Believing Mormon who reluctantly lost his faith, became a hard-core atheist, and then accidentially rediscovered a realm of spirituality through a magical mushroomy trip. Space Cowboy apologizes for sounding like a gay alien (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And don’t do drugs.




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    Thank God this
    wasn’t a discussion of the spiritual overtones of Steve Miller songs
    like unto the pompatus of love and such. I was frightened there for
    a minute.

    I like the idea that maybe prophets, seers and
    regulators—or revelators, I guess—were on drugs. It could
    explain so much, not the least of which is why all this revelation and
    shit is always in the fucking PAST, why we’re always having to take somebody else’s word for it.

    I’m hanging on to my private shred of spirituality until someone can explain existence to me. I mean the classic “why is there anything?” question. Lawrence Krauss wrote a book about how something can come from nothing, but if you read it, it’s pretty obvious that nothing isn’t nothing. Where did the pregnant nothing that gave rise to everything come from? Huh? Tell me that.

    Every existential construct, every religion and philosophy—including science and atheism—just skip over that part. We all leap out of the abyss onto lily pad 1 (lily pad 0 if you’re a C programmer) and then explain our origin, or perceived lack thereof, from there. I would call whatever causes/allows/is existence—BEING its own se’f—God. I agree that these anthropomorphic gods that everyone is so fond of—Yaweh, Jehovah, Elohim, Vishnu, Rama, Shiva, Allah, FSM, that crowd—are so unlikely to exist as makes no difference, but there has to be SOMETHING else how is there anything? And if pristine, silent emptiness is the Author of the Universe, how does that work?

    Maybe I need to do some shrooms.

    • Randy_Snyder

      I agree. Krauss’ book would be more accurately named “Something from Something Else”.

    • Randy_Snyder

      You might enjoy this link about Krass’ book:


      • Thanks! You’re right: entertaining and enlightening. I am comforted that I’m not the only one to notice this conundrum has yet to be solved. The most enlightening bit is after Krauss has explained how really nothing his nothing is, one of the reviewers says (in effect), “If something came from it, then it wasn’t nothing, was it?” If nothingness is “elevated” to somethingness by having had some thing come from it, then we can never have something come from nothing, by definition. Maybe there simply cannot be nothing. Maybe nothing is an eminently unstable state—silent, pristine emptiness “decaying” into something almost immediately. Maybe Nothingness isn’t the primordial base state we’ve always taken it to be. Maybe it’s a corner case, an outlier. Krauss’s book is not uninteresting or even wrong, it’s just mis-titled.

  • Tyler Grow

    Where can we find the study,referred to by space cowboy, where psilocybin is ranked at a 5/100? I would love to read more about it!

    • Kuerno

      Try searching and or posting an inquiry to reset.me. If it’s out there I would expect someone from that crowd to have additional info. Check my recent comment for a link to the FB community.

    • Space Cowboy

      Here: http://www.sg.unimaas.nl/_old/oudelezingen/dddsd.pdf

      P.S. Sorry it took so long to post a reply. I meant to do it a lot sooner but I spaced out about it.

      • Kuerno

        Space Cowboy, can you give me some clues how to find a like-minded group here in Utah? I am in plenty of Shaman type groups on FB and the net but have had a hard time finding people locally.

  • This is the academic paper that was presented at Sunstone 2007, by Robert Beckstead: Restoration and the Sacred Mushroom

    • That could explain so much. Like why, according to many accounts, the church was alive, dynamic and exciting in the very early days, and how and why it just isn’t any more. Nowadays we have a “cult of personality” built around the personality of Thomas S. Monson.

      Thanks for the link, I’m going to have to read that in detail.

      • “…for many early LDS coverts [sic], learning about truth was a second rank endeavor. Instead, seeking for a personal visionary experience was primary. According to LDS scholar, Richard Bushman, early Mormon converts were seekers whose ‘…greatest hunger was for spiritual gifts like dreams, visions, tongues, miracles, and spiritual raptures.'”

        • Josh

          yea that explains alot about religion, and spiritual expierence. With one profound experiance with a transcendental substance, suddenly the verbage of ‘and the heavens were opened’ makes a lot more sense.

  • Kuerno

    Good podcast. I have a couple basic comments.

    First is the thought of using Heroin. I feel many times once people realize they have been lied to in regards to one thing they will apply mistrust to everything or all substances. You need only to read on the internet or talk to friends in that scene and they can tell you how bad Heroin can be. If there is any experienced person you can trust on this it’s the girl from Nero Soup.


    Now for those that want to learn more I highly recommend looking into Amber Lyon’s short lived podcast and Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Maybe start by looking at reset.me either on Facebook or the web. https://www.facebook.com/resetmenews/?fref=nf

    The other comment I had was in regards the the Native American Church mentioned. I think Space Cowboy was referring to ONAC which is not really Christian per se but a Native American church that uses ‘entheogens’ as part of their sacrament.

    Oh and one other mention in regards to the Moses Stuff. At this point I am not going to go back and look but didn’t Moses use cannabis oil?

    Also wasn’t there something with the tent and when smoke was coming out they new there was a “revelation” in progress? Also is it possible that the “Burning Bush” might have been the incredibly psychedelic Acacia Tree mentioned in the bible?

    • Heather Craw

      Listening back, I feel I was being pretty flippant about a very serious issue. I would never dispute that heroin and cocaine have a powerful effect on the brain.

      Here’s a rundown of the research I referred to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html

      Among other interesting thoughts: “So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”

      • Turdfurgeson

        Loved that last quote as well. So true.

  • Sterling C

    All I can say was this is very interesting. I have thought about this a lot.

    One of my favorite ‘shamans’ on this subject is Terrence McKenna (I have and will continue listening to this guy for hours and hours). I have not got to a point where I am willing to try psychedelics. I do not view it as a recreational activity. I look it more like a temple visit by a non-theist to ask my inner body God, who is old as life on earth, real questions.

    Here is a video entitled “culture is your operating system”. I thing it is quite relevant to Mormonism, and how this culture defined all of us profoundly, and how it is just one of many ideologies, on of many many operating systems. There is a lot more to the world then the Mormon operating system.


    • Josh

      Someone who listens to anything on a topic such as this i think dismisses any value of the topic as just a sort of hippie non sense that is only done by people that aren’t productive contributing members of society. Usage has been stigmatized and demonized with great success. Perhaps all of us that are searching for truth and understanding have stopped using a useful tool that seems to be integrated in almost all of human culture by individuals seeking understanding. Thanks infants for allowing such a topic to be discussed, even with a lot of skeptics on board. I Appreciate it all.

  • Lari

    I am wondering if Space Cowboy has ever read or listened to Alan Watts. When I was leaving the church, “The Book” by Alan Watts helped me intellectualize about the experience he had. But I’ve never experienced psychedelic mushrooms.

    • Sterling C

      I quite enjoy listening to Alan Watts as well. I enjoy his uncommon views on things

    • Space Cowboy

      Hi Lari, no I haven’t ever read or listened to Alan Watts but I’m familiar with his name and from what I’ve heard here and there about him, it sounds like I’d appreciate his perspective.

  • StoneInHat

    So glad you guys did this! I have recently been exploring such substances and my life was changed. I rediscovered spirituality too. Thanks a bunch!

    • StoneInHat

      Only wish he had shared his thoughts on LSD.

  • Tim

    For those considering psychedelics, please consider the indirect consequences of these drugs. Bad mushrooms will get you on the liver transplant short list, and that whole jumping out the window thing does happen. People do crazy shit when perception is forcefully altered. The purchase alone may put you at risk by putting you face to face with people who may hurt you. I’ve seen all of those things firsthand. Sam Harris’s discussion on the subject seems like a balanced view, but I lean even heavier toward meditation than he does. Drugs just seem like a shortcut to spirituality with possibly small but unnecessary risk relative to meditation.

    • Josh

      A very responsible position. The negative aspects seem to be associated with the fact that there is no way of finding a way to participate responsibly when able. Many substances and activities are potentially harmful when done irresponsibly. The illegality breeds irrisponsible behavior through ignorance. Being able to meditate on a level to achieve the same experiance as with help of a transcendental substance almost certainly unrealistic foer most of us. Having had a positive experience however might inspire one to pusue meditation to that level of mastery.

      • Tim

        Yeah, I get it. I understand the idea of jumpstarting the transcendence. But I thought Space Cowboy was too eager to dismiss the risks. On one hand he threw out the 5/100 danger scale without references or explanation of methodology, and on the other hand he acknowledged the serious danger he felt having his bad trip by the pool. Sam Harris had a bad trip floating in a boat by himself in a lake in Nepal. Lots of potential for badness. I understand the low risk of direct harm from the shrooms, but the indirect harm is a risk that should not be brushed aside. I picked up a reference Space Cowboy made to his wife and kids. Severe injury or death have consequences beyond yourself. It might be easier to cope with “Dad was killed in a car crash” than “Dad drown in the pool while tripping on shrooms”.

  • Holly

    This was an interesting topic, but came off as a bit of a snooze fest. Sorry, I normally love the podcast, but even with this taboo/intriguing subject, something was missing.

    • Ryan Gregson

      I’ve found that listening to someone describe their psychedelic experiences is not unlike listening to someone talk about their dreams. It’s incredibly important to the person telling, but so boring and inconsequential to everyone else.

  • Brenda

    Why cover the voice, space cowboy? It was really annoying to listen to. I couldnt finish. Yo infants, next time someone is too scared to use their real voice on the podcast, just say no.

    • ART

      Completely disagree. Keep it up and ignore the people who can just skip over/aren’t interested in it without ruining it for the rest of us.

  • Katie

    I think I know the space cowboy! I think I recognize his voice?!?! Where and when did he serve his mission??