1971. Ken Kesey was taking LSD with his friend Paul Foster. Then things got weird.
Paul tried to stand. He took a second to catch his breath. Kesey – the thing in Kesey’s body – seemed content to let him. It just stood there, hovering.
“W…who are you?” asked Paul.
“NEIL,” said the thing in Kesey’s body.
“But…who…what ARE you?”
“NEIL,” said the thing in Kesey’s body, somewhat more forcefully.
Quivering from head to toe, Paul knelt.
“NO. I AM NEIL ARMSTRONG. ELEVEN MONTHS AGO, I FELL THROUGH A CRACK IN THE SKY INTO THE EIN SOF, THE TRUE GOD WHOSE VASTNESS SURROUNDS CREATION. LIKE ENOCH BEFORE ME, I WAS INVESTED WITH A PORTION OF THE MOST HIGH, THEN SENT BACK INTO CREATION TO SERVE AS A MESSENGER. I AM TO SHOW MANKIND A CITY UPON A HILL, A NEW JERUSALEM THAT STANDS BEYOND ALL CONTRARIES AND NEGATIONS.”
Paul just stared at him, goggle-eyed.
“YOU DO NOT BELIEVE. I WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN. ARISE AND OPEN YOUR BIBLE, AND READ THE FIRST WORDS UPON WHICH YOUR EYES FALL.”
Mutely, Paul rose to his feet and took a Bible off his shelf, an old dog-eared King James Version he thought he might have stolen from a hotel once. He opened it somewhere near the middle and read from Psalm 89:12-13:
The north and the south Thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in Thy name. Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is Thy hand, and high is Thy right hand
William Blake described mystical insight as “seeing through the eye and not with it”. Stripping away all of the layers of mental post-processing and added interpretation until you see the world plainly, as it really is. And by a sudden grace Paul was able to see through his eyes, saw the words themselves and not the meaning behind them:
arm strong is Thy hand
For a moment, Paul still doubted – did God really send His messengers through druggies who had just taken monster doses of LSD? Then he read the verse again:
high is Thy right hand
For the second time in as many minutes, he fell to his knees.
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