Some friends of mine did some tests with DMT entities. Apparently they can't solve math problems.
I never believed they were anything other than hallucinations, but they were still some of the most positive and meaningful events in my life. I hope one day we'll know enough about consciousness to understand why DMT causes the formation of these seemingly other selves.
We are capable of holding more than one identity in our minds and switching between them. Some people use that ability to create "characters" (tulpas: https://www.businessinsider.com/hearing-voices-in-your-head-...) that they interact with or even allow to take over their bodies. Apparently some people go as far as replacing themselves with a tulpa they've created (they call this ego-suicide).
We are also capable of realizing directly that personal identity itself is also construct, a mask we put on to make sense of the world. Seeing through this illusion can be deeply unsettling, as well as deeply liberating. E.g. Buddhist insight into anatta, or non-self.
Shinzen Young's description on the nuts and bolts of Shingon Buddhist deity yoga practice is simply fascinating.
This is cool, but I've always felt buddhists make this too big of an issue. Yeah, the ego is just a process, like any other, but it was probably created as a result of some selection mechanism.
I'm pretty sure in a situation of conflict, it's beneficial to kick the ego in higher gear. Sure, when things calm down, relax that thing. I feel pretty strongly that's the evolutionary reason for having an ego to begin with.
If you'd like a secular guide to experiencing this yourself, for my money, Sam Harris's Waking Up app is the best way to do it. It takes quite awhile to build up the mental toolset to get there, but it's very much worth it.
> Apparently some people go as far as replacing themselves with a tulpa they've created (they call this ego-suicide).
Sure, but I wonder how useful that is. After all, you're replacing one ego with another. Before, the controller was this group of processes running on this slice of the CPU, now it's a different (but similar) group of processes running on a somewhat shifted slice of the CPU.
Maybe if the new processes are better in some ways then it would be worth it? Less anxious, more confident, something like that.
Wonder how close this phenomena is related with lucid dreaming. The reason I bring it up is back in college I was struggling with an assignment and could not get the solution to a problem. That night I had a extremely vivid lucid dream where I was told the solution to the problem. The crazy thing was I tested it the next morning and it worked. Most likely my subconscious solving the issue but it was extremely strange as the answer was very clear and was not a technique I was used to.
Leaving problems to simmer in the subconscious overnight is a pretty common technique. Results aren't always as vivid as a dream, but it's not unusual to wake up with an "Oh yes - of course" if you prime the problem the day before.
Back when chemistry was just getting started and scientists were still trying to figure out the structures of molecules, benzene was a tough issue, probably because folks could not make yet the mental leap to non-linear structures (closed loops).
And then one night Kekule dreamed up the benzene ring, and the rest is history.
Apex Twin claims he's using lucid dreams to make songs:
> [...] it’s a technique James claims to be responsible for 80% of the tracks of Selected Ambient Works Volume II. In a 1994 interview he explained, “I go to sleep, dream I’m in my studio with imaginary bits of gear and do a track. Then I wake myself up and recreate it. I can do this in about 20 minutes.”
I had both type of experiences, lucid dreaming and something like what's described in the article. While a theory of the subconscious may explain both, they feel completely different. It's like skiing is technically like kicking a can because you use your legs for both, but no one analyses them both from the same framework and gets interesting conclusions or predictions.
My colleague used to joke about having “shower ideas” he’d come into work with some new direction or solution he’d come up with while in the shower or doing other day to day non-programming things. I’ve heard other people mention walking around the block works for them too.
As a layperson reading experiences, it sort of seems to align with a lot of Jungian psychology models. The idea that there's a guiding visualizable other self that provides insight and meaning when visited, but is still ultimately an extension of the self.
I have tried DMT more than a few times. Every time I felt a sense of connection to something greater, some would call it "God", and some call it "the Universe", etc.
On one trip I caught a glimpse of this and within the trip I moved towards it, curious what it was, and I was pushing closer towards it trying to discover what it was, and then it "shattered" and revealed itself as my own subconscious - that force within me that protects me and guides me and loves me, it was my own self at its purest essence, stripped of all the layers that we construct to deal with the rest of the world. It was a rapturous epiphany, I literally turned into a million smiles and my own subconscious welcomed me "home".
I know it probably sounds strange to some, but I do consider it a breakthrough. I haven't really needed to do any DMT since then. "Once you get the message, hang up the phone" - Alan Watts. I got the message. Oh wow, I got that message.
I never believed the "aliens" in DMT trips were anything like "aliens", because after all, everything that occurs during a DMT trip is happening within your own brain. These aren't "beings", they are you, yourself, or at least the inner workings of "the self".
I am always wondering. From split brain patients we know that there are two fully functioning halfs. And when you think about it from an IT perspective, it is difficult to imagine that they are fully synchronized (emotionally, information, etc). So basically you have a pair of twins sharing a phone line giving somehow the idea of a single person. I am not surprised that some odd things going on.
(The old: left hemisphere math, right art or vice versa has been debunked if I remember correctly)
Well, he did deliberately induce this state on himself and record the results in The Red Book. And given that he had those experiences, it's no surprise his model of psychology aligns with those who also have.
Which is not necessarily to discount it. I'm intrigued by his research and willingness to apply the scientific method to things other scientists would dismiss out-of-hand.
From an IFS perspective, it sounds like DMT introduces parts that guide our attention toward the Self. That's different from regular IFS parts - protectors and exiles - that guide our attention away from the Self.
To play devil's advocate: Math arose largely to deal with the problem of scarce resources. Magical drug-summoned beings might never have needed to do that.
To then argue against that: Trippy aliens would not need to confront our simplest kinds of scarcity, like for land or food, in order to need to economize. Any world that offers choices offers tradeoffs by definition. Rational agents facing tradeoffs arrive at math.
Unless somehow emotional intelligence is more useful to them than economic rationality.
Hmm, depends, it's one way to aim towards objectivity though. Unless of course these being exists in dimensions where base reality itself necessitates a different mathematical makeup ... causing the entities themselves to respond to your presence with "yeah, right, nice try fantasy person, wink-wink, now get out of my day dream"
I've never tried DMT, though it's something I'd like to try. I did have an experience with entities and salvia though. I've smoked it a few times and there was always things there...it always felt like to them I was an ant they'd suddenly noticed were aware of them and they just seemed kind of amused.
But one time, I tried smoking a small amout of it while chewing on some extract. I'd read that south American shamans would chew the leaves rather than smoking them.
It was a totally different experience. After about ten minutes I had this extreme sense of derealization, like everything in the world was flat and 2 dimensional the like backdrop of a play and if I tried I could have just ripped it all down to see everything hidden behind it. It was a really strange feeling.
Shortly after that though, was when the entity showed up. At the time, I was fairly addicted to minecraft. Like would spend ally free time playing that game.
All of a sudden there was a voice screaming in my head that i'm wasting my time and life...something made...I really don't know how else to describe it, stand up and start walking into the wall over and over while the voice kept going see, this is what you've been spending your time doing. If you've ever played minecraft, it involves a lot of walking into walls to mine blocks.
At that point, I started getting this overwhelming urge to go outside for a walk. I remember arguing with the thing saying it would be a bad idea to go outside. It ended up relenting and left.
The whole experience was strange...I swear that must be what it feels like to be possessed or something. I know it's like just a hallucination, but it sure felt real and even remembering it it feels real.
Real or not, I stopped playing minecraft after that. Haven't played more than a few hours since.
I never smoked DMT, but I smoked salvia a lot. To avoid crazy trips, you have to take it horizontally in the dark quiet room. About 50% of trips started the same: the UFO arrives and hangs over me. Pulsating tunnel is started to connect me with the ship. Then 'they' start to drag me to the ship. The result depends of the smoked quantity. If you got 1-2 hits, you will not reach the ship. Yes, they will help you, they will drag you, but with no luck. But if you took 2-3 hits, the next what you will see is the space. With ships and 'lands'.
So I felt those entities like good older brothers. In IT terms I was like junior and they like teamlids.
I agree that that world feels more real than this one.
I have no desire to ever try salvia (heard too many bad things about how dysphoric it can be), but the 2D nature of it is really fascinating. You hear that same type of thing from many people. I wonder what the mechanism is that causes that to happen.
Your experience with our world being '2 dimensional' and entities observing you existing in a higher dimensional universe - almost as if they're reading (or writing) a two dimensional picture book, we inhabit - gells extremely with one of my salvia experiences. Most profoundly 'psychadelic', almost Lovecraftian experience I've had.
Mine looked like hanging drapes closing in around me, but completely non-threatening. They were bright white, green, and brown stripes, and rhythmically pulsing, like breathing. I had the strongest sense they were non-threatening and watching over me. I never thought they were anything but hallucinations though.
The geometric patterns are interesting to me because we can generate them as the effect of feedback loops, recursion, and iteration in pretty much every physical and logical domain. When you introduce a delay or discontinuity into a continuous process, it causes echoes and periodic patterns we would interpret as "geometric" as well. Think effects pedals on musical sounds, or modelling queues.
The underlying presumption seems to be that there are barriers to understanding a truth that can be "unlocked," which seems like a leap fraught with baggage. Even though using a poison that impairs the ability of our brain to reconcile its sensory inputs with its memory of itself is an out of "self" experience, this idea of viewing it through the lens of an enhancement or impairment yields different interpretations. A functioning society and civilization requires that people can be acted upon by - and respond to - the artifacts of language, so something that impairs that is going to raise hackles among people who think about those sort of things. But to grow it and survive we also need things that originate outside of it, so the insights people get from these trips can also be very valuable.
DMT elves I can't explain, but geometric patterns, just generate interrupts on a signal that has feedback. If they do exist, I'd have to assume they're some instantiation of tech support, as something is going to detect the signal jitter and check it.
I've seen geometric patterns and it's very similar to tie-dye fractals that kind of pulse and move among itself. A friend and I had very similar experience of the patterns (no elves wasn't DMT). You'd see them only when looking close up at something, not your entire visual field. They conform to the object you are staring at. A cardboard box wilth all its micro texture and creases "generated" the patterns and your brain would interpret it moving, pulsing, distorting, adding color.
(I am not saying this as some kind of allure of the drug's effects, just interesting to think about why and how the perception change happens).
I think maybe it has to do with your brain trialing new pattern recognition algorithms.
warning more musing below
I mean what is to say how any signal from our perception should look or feel internally? Visually the input in just raw EM radiation. And our brain makes this vivid picture out of basically a field of numbers. In this case you could argue that the extra pulsing or moving is not from a signal in reality, but we also can easily be tricked with visual illusions into seeing a static image move while completely sober. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_motion.
There is no "right" perception of reality, or at least ours is subjective to begin with. I think drugs just allow new patterns or patterns recognition "algorithms" a trial run. Our biology ended up as it is to keep us alive; it is not "poison" or wrong to try to re-jigger it temporarily to see what else is possible - as long as you are in a good situation to do so. (Or not, who am I to judge).
You may find that with enough experiences like this, you can perceive the same type (but not degree) of fluctuations when looking at any kind of textured or patterned material, such as asphalt or a woven rug. Try gazing at a surface in a slightly unfocused, highly “relaxed” manner. I expect that to your point, your brain filters or corrects for this type of perception.
My personal explanation for the others is that we are pattern recognition machines. One of the patterns we train to recognize every single day is a human shape and figure. On DMT your pattern recognition goes into overdrive, and you find these patterns out of nothing.
What I find interesting though is that almost everyone has nearly identical experiences with this. Almost everyone goes from sober -> geometric shapes -> "the others", advancing between the levels dependent on the dose.
If you're interested in these kinds of parsimonies... I suggest looking into traditional and modern "psychedelic art" (especially dmt-related) and machine generated "art." There are similarities here too, some uncanny.
I occasionally wake up half way during the night and experience glorious intensely colorful geometric hallucinations. It definitely feels and evolves like feedback. There are sometimes beings and encounters. The colors are hyperreal, impossible to see or display on a monitor. Normal dreams don't have colors at all really.
It's so great that there are actually people dedicated in scientific studies about DMT! I have a degree in CS and work in the field for 10 years. For 6 years now I've been participating in those mediunic rituals with ayahuasca and everything that comes to me is love, greatefulness and a contact with my inner self. When it comes to God we are actually talking about a more intense contact with our inner selves which already can be explained by psychology, but then it comes the interesting part: it feels like technology is inside my mind in such a way that when I'm under effect of ayahuasca the "beings" that I encounter are very much like "elven" machines but I don't see them, I feel an energic presence and the visual manifestation of that energy in my brain reflects in the form of patterns thus this "machine" looking visuals. Something very interesting about me being on DMT is that I'm able to render those voxels words indefinitely and visualize everything with sound like the sound is the code behind those renderers in my mind. I believe guys like Tesla, Einstein and so many others did have this same capacity to interact with their inner selves / sub consciousness and fully use their mental capacity in such a way that the "energic entities" (read the energy in your own brain parts) were able to describe to them the factories of the universe in the middle of a dream. You may actually follow up on this work with convicted man in Brazil: https://revistatrip.uol.com.br/trip/presos-de-rondonia-usam-...
> I believe guys like Tesla, Einstein and so many others did have this same capacity
Sometimes when reading quotes by people like them, I get a similar impression, like they were "connected to the source", or "enlightened", and they intuitively followed that connection towards their achievements.
It also reminds me of a part in a documentary about Steve Jobs when a friend of his says "Steve was enlightened, and he blew it", hinting at him using that connection or "power" for what she felt was the wrong purpose.
Thank you for your appreciation! It is a reality that those guys are enlightened and were able to experience a more intense connection to God than many people but I still believe everyone is enlightened as well although some may not notice most of this world beautiful secrets... My hypothesis is that God is in the DNA so you don't have to worry about having ayahuasca experiences nor visualizing physics in your head like Einstein, living and loving are enough to understand most of Life! I also believe that people can blew things when they stop feeling, feelings separate us from the inanimate world but remember everything still vibrates
The most common emotions were "joy (65%), trust (63%), surprise (61%), love (59%), kindness (56%), friendship (48%), and fear (41%) during the encounter experience, with smaller proportions reporting emotions such as sadness (13%), distrust (10%), disgust (4%), or anger (3%)." Interestingly, 58 percent of respondents said the being also had an emotional response, almost always a positive one.
If you're into some awesome science Towards a Science of Consciousness conference is going on right now, amazing talks / Zoom chats with some great scientists. Join in on the conversations! https://consciousness.arizona.edu/
Wow I wonder if this is just luck in the respondents having a good setting / proper preparation, etc. or innate effects of the drug. Ive had other psychedelics kick my ass more than a few times with anxiety / paranoia.
The difference to other psychedelics is the nature of the DMT trip - it is extremely "fast", short, and overwhelming. There simply is too little "idle" time in the trip (none, actually) for the rational mind to start developing paranoia or anxiety about what is happening.
It also helps that the whole thing is so otherworldly, the thinking mind is simply awed into silence. It takes a while before you could even begin to develop a conceptual interpretation of what is happening, and by then the whole thing is over and you are back to your sober self.
With other, long-acting psychedelics, there is plenty of time and opportunity for the mind to develop its own "spin" on the experience, and produce anxiety. Not so with DMT - it's like being shot out of a cannon and then coming back to earth just as fast.
It sounds terrifying and it is, when you're reflecting on it outside of the container of the trip. Somehow, while it's happening, you don't even have time to think about how terrifying it is, and as a result of that it ends up being OK. Tells you a lot about the nature of anxiety, really.
The potential for anxiety and paranoia are heightened for me since I took cannabis edibles and had a horrendous reaction where I was 99% sure I was dying from a heart-attack or lack of oxygen. I took it at 11AM and I was still slightly high the next afternoon, so it lasted well over 24 hours! It was the worst experience of my life with any drug. This is coming from someone that smoked Salvia over 150 times in one year... I was basically doing it every other day. I only had one bad trip on salvia. I also did shrooms at a rave once and while that experience wasn't great nor horrible, it was just exhausting and I wanted it to be over after a couple of hours. All of this leaves me with a desire to try DMT but a huge fear of dealing w/ the same anxiety and paranoia I got from the edible cannabis ordeal.
Possibly responsible for many of the reported differences between dmt (especially traditional oral varieties such as ayahuasca) and lsd or psilocybin. The latter are often used in recreational (and often irresponsible) settings, while dmt is often treated more seriously.
Even in a controlled test, expectations probably still play a meaningful role. Possible ethical issues with randomizing the active test.
I did quite a bit of DMT (smoked) as a teenager and absolutely loved it every time. Friends of mine also got some of their own at the time, and was REALLY interesting how similar everyone's experiences were.
At first I thought maybe the whole "friendly elves" (for lack of a better phrase) thing might just be because my friends and I had read the same things about the experience and as such were predispositioned to that experience. However, a few friends that had literally never heard of DMT tried it and had virtually the same experience. Everyone I know personally that's tried it has the same "friendly fractal elves trying to show you something" or "fractal basketball" (that's what we called it) story.
It's a delight and I'd at some point in the future like to try ayahuasca, but I'm very leery about MAOIs. I think a lot of people may not be aware of the very real risks associated with them. DMT itself may be relatively safe, but harmala alkaloids can be incredibly dangerous depending on the person. There was a Netflix show (I think called Wellness maybe?) that touched on the possible dangers of ayahuasca but didn't go so far as to describe the possible problems of inhibiting an enzyme (monoamine oxidase) that performs vital functions in your brain and body.
I'm really glad that more and more researchers are spending more time and resources on psychedelics in general and look forward to advances that may be made in this area.
Anyone interested in this should check out Towards a Science of Consciousness conference going on right now. Selen Atasoy just spoke, Dennis Mckenna, Paul Stamets, Robin Carhart-Harris, and lots of other really great Psychedelic scientists. + Many many other avenues of Consciousness https://consciousness.arizona.edu/
I had the same experience of skulls on mushrooms. The moon seems to induce the strongest hallucinations for me for some reason. I've also seen it sprout wheels and drive down a mountain on acid. On ecstasy I saw perfectly symmetrical flower petals around the moon.
Or there is no such template by default, but DMT causes it to be created in a similar way across people taking it, and the differences in what people experience are filled in according to their personality/life/...
Sorry, too busy too look up the exact terminology and hypothesis now, but IIRC there's these 2 major theories on how the mind/drugs work: one camp (a bit like your statement) says things are built-in and certain feelings/states/thoughts/.. exist by default but in a 'normal' sober state the neural pathways to them are not active, and drugs just open the correct gates to be able to access them; the other camp (more like what I wrote) says drugs alter enough things in the brain to create those feelings/... from scratch i.e. not opening a gate, more like creating a gate then opening it and keeping on creating what lies beyond.
I can recommend the thought experiment of trying to figure it out which one it is, especially when on drugs, it's rather interesting :) Personally I settled for believing it's a mixture of the 2, mainly because I find it hard to believe the circuitry for some of the things I experienced is readily available whereas at the same time once you have a certain experience it can have a lasting effect and the neural connections remain somehow, making it much easier to have a similar experience next time.
Long ago when I used to do maintenence on video consoles and pin-ball machines. The pin-ball machine was built with a standard desktop motherboard with additional circuits for the display and sound. If you wetted you finger and ran it along the tracks on the PCB, the audio circuit emitted strange avant garde sounding music. I figure it was the machine equivalent of a DMT trip :]
This could be a good analogy to what our brain experience. We do compartmentalize things, for efficiency reasons. (I.e. a book is a book. we have concrete models of the world to reference; like a PCB board has concrete functions it performs)
Then...one can swipe the board with a wet finger that produces unintended non-negative consequences. Same could be said of DMT and the brain. Great comparison Stierlitz!
In my experience that guide needs a dimension of personality type or at least character traits. Most papers that analyse psychedelic experiences show that clustering by personality traits is a better or equal predictor of the type of experience than dose and (when appropriate) setting.
Reading the comments on this was thrilling. I don't normally go for hearing about trip experiences but something DMT stories makes them so much more fun to read vs. LSD and Psilocybin. Love the comments here.
I would argue Ayahuasca ceremonies, a group setting, with experienced individuals who are already open and have very heightened senses and higher than average sensory ability, and cataloguing the experiences individually - and then matching to see if there were shared experiences with specific entities or other beings - would be the research necessary to start creating proof points.
The Phillip K Dick Novel, "The Unteleported Man" explores a similar theme: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unteleported_Man
Been a very long time since I read it, but I believe the gist was that two people experiencing the same hallucinations somehow confirms the hallucinations.
Anyone who’s adequately informed about spiritual matters is able to identify “machine elves” as demons who still seek to rule humans as in times past and desperately try to hide their identity. I’ve heard they get extremely angry and transform into malicious monsters if you interrogate them about the truth of Jesus Christ. Doing that will guarantee a bad experience. People shouldn’t be doing drugs anyways.
we are chemical soups sloshing around within our meat sacs.
i am interested though.. in the imaginary friends children make...could it be that when we are children, the brain releases 'DMT like' chemicals or signals that make them hallucinate our imaginary friends. children lose this ability when they grow up.
same with ghosts and alien sightings. i think ..on a more diluted level..people with synesthetic proclivities. many religious and spiritual experiences can also trigger meeting 'other entities' not from our plane. angels and such. fairies etc.
finally, could be seizures. certain kinds of epileptic episodes can trigger hallucinations and visualizations.
Do kids really think their imaginary friend is real? When I did it as a kid, I knew there was no one there, but pretended and in a way role played situations. Normally this was only in between long gaps where I didnt get to hang out with other kids. I've never known any kids who truly think their imaginary friend is real or see them. I thought it was just a lame movie trope.
It's a while since I've listened to much Terence McKenna, but I have a vague memory of him talking about this, possibly related to Psilocybin instead of DMT, about how there's a recording of a woman in South America speaking in Spanish while tripping and yet "being told" the same content by the psychadelic entity. Another part of the world, another language, same message. Anyone know the details of that story?
Right now it feels a lot like how UFO sightings have barely changed in the last twenty years despite over 2 billion smartphone cameras being pumped into the world, and countless millions more standalone digital cameras, tablet cameras, webcams, etc. A 1960s or 1970s recording from the "dawn" of tapes, a crackly recording of a woman in a mental hospital speaking in a distant place in a foreign language is extremely evocative, a far better story than a study at a dowdy chemical research lab in a flyover town.
I remember the entities. Or in my case a singular one. I went into it with zero expectations or knowledge of what other people experience and I'm glad for that. It's amazing that the common thread of the descriptions is so similar.
> The form and nature of these beings vary in reports, but one thing remains curiously constant: People tend to rank these encounters among the most meaningful experiences of their lives. For some people, these encounters change their beliefs about reality, the existence of an afterlife, and God.
Wonder how much of this is simply the fact this is a highly illegal and hard to obtain drug. By definition it would be an unusual experience for anybody and people tend to assign more meaning to the not-mundane. I sincerely doubt you'd be hearing all these stories if you could get these drugs in a grocery store.
I know what you're saying, and agree. But I think it's worth pointing out that the explanation of "people hallucinating hallucinate" doesn't end the conversation. Can you answer the question of "what is a hallucination?" with still fewer assumptions?
Maybe you can, but I think if you're acting in good faith you'll find you have to discuss the nature of consciousness and its relationship with the natural world. Now, this may still come to a simpler explanation than one involving extra dimensions but I think it's a lot more complex than "people hallucinating hallucinate" if you're being fair in your investigation.
Well one day we all die. Leading up to that we live in a world that exists entirely in the space between our ears. I kinda wanna believe in a dimension full of benevolent machine elves that we are linked to spiritually.