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Thread: Psychedelic drugs

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    Default Psychedelic drugs

    On recommendation from a forum member (can't remember who, sorry) I've started reading Michael Pollan's book on psychedelics:

    https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/b...9781594204227/

    Here's the article he wrote for the New Yorker about using psilocybin to help terminally ill people prepare for death:

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...trip-treatment

    I'm only up to chapter 2 so can't comment on the book as a whole yet, but this is an area I'm very interested in, perhaps because I'd like a sort of silver bullet for my brain.

    But also takes us into the area of the mystical, potentially in a way that's compatible with science.

    Also relevant here is Oliver Sacks, who experimented with all sorts of drugs as a young doctor.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/oliver_sac...bout_our_minds

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    Has anyone on here had a life-changing psychedelic experience?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    but this is an area I'm very interested in, perhaps because I'd like a sort of silver bullet for my brain.
    as i understand it at least, depth psychoanalysis will get you there.

    people say it can be expensive (though there are subsidised ways of doing it) and it would also require quite a lot of painful and tiring work...

    BUT the advantage is that it will (like psychedelics) frequently have a spiritual outcome AND (unlike psychedelics) people actually understand where they have ended up.

    with psychedelics you zap to the other end of the experience with no understanding of how it connects to your everyday existence. then it wears off and you're left trying to reconcile the alpha with the omega.

    Last edited by Matthew; 19-06-2018 at 11:36 AM.

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    I do think there's value to psychoanalysis, but the sort of experiences Pollan is describing don't square up with this:

    'BUT the advantage is that it will (like psychedelics) frequently have a spiritual outcome AND (unlike psychedelics) people actually understand where they have ended up.

    with psychedelics you zap to the other end of the experience with no understanding of how it connects to your everyday existence. then it wears off and you're left trying to reconcile the alpha with the omega.'
    Perhaps because they're not 'typical' psychedelic experiences - they're produced under guided conditions. Pollan talks about this, about how the spiritual bent of the scientists performing these experiments inevitably infects the subjects experiences.

    OTOH you may be right to say that psychedelics doesn't give people an 'understanding' (but then, isn't the 'understanding' arrived at by psychoanalysis also something imaginatively created and subject to shadowy forces?) - Pollan writes that these experiences conform to William James's definition of mystical experiences:

    http://www.bodysoulandspirit.net/mys...ne/james.shtml

    Key parts of this being a conviction of absolute truth and understanding and a complete inability to explain this in words:

    1. Ineffability - The handiest of the marks by which I classify a state of mind as mystical is negative. The subject of it immediately says that it defies expression, that no adequate report of its contents can be given in words.

    2. Noetic Quality - Although so similar to states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discurssive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for aftertime.

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    What I meant to say re: your quote was that the very attempt to reconcile alpha and omega necessitates a perspective shift - that there is more to life than you thought, and can see

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    Also, I should have named this thread differently, as I'd like to discuss how drugs can play a positive role in our lives, and the recent emerging science around this, e.g. ketamine being used to treat depression.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    2. Noetic Quality
    that's what i'm trying to suggest.

    it's one of the underacknowledged aspects of psychoanalysis. some of the most convincing discourses around psychedelics frame them as (essentially) vastly accelerated psychoanalysis. the key is probably is putting dreams into the mix and accounting for them.

    worth remembering psychoanalysis's roots in shamanism, mesmerism and (key with freud) the kabbalah. etc etc etc. basically murky, but highly effective techniques...

    i suppose it worries me a little whenever i read about a pill being the answer.

    [i'm going to be offline travelling for a week or so - so apologies i can't get back to you here immediately]

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    I've posted here about iboga before. It's a really interesting one, reportedly manifesting its effects as a fully immersive and exquisitely curated review of your lifetime's experiences and traumas. Once the vomiting and nausea has passed. Not really an abbreviated version of therapy as you live it for hours that feel like an eternity. Sounds like no fun at all.

    This iboga trip report 'Hard Reset' is a classic of the genre, an excellent read with some serious implications for the nature of mind and memory, if it's true.
    Last edited by HMGovt; 19-06-2018 at 05:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    Has anyone on here had a life-changing psychedelic experience?
    Too many to mention perhaps.

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    Sorry to hear that. Thomas Ligotti took acid in the early 70s and (apparently) became ahedonistic as a result - some irony there as psychedelics are probably the only shortcut to ego-death - something he vigorously advocates.

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    Sorry to hear that version. I've had a few friends have bad experiences with psychedelics and with drugs in general.

    I've done mushrooms a handful of times and acid once and enjoyed myself (apart from the odd wobble) every time. But never took sufficient dose of either to have the full ego death experience, which quite frankly sounds terrifying but is also - according to the book - the required level to experience in order to 'enjoy' a mystical experience.

    Still, I'm wary of doing them because I worry I'll go insane, or just that I'll be stuck having an awful time for eight hours. Although I'd probably do mushrooms on a fairly regular basis if they were easily found.

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    One of the heaviest trips I've ever had was induced by snorting ketamine at a festival. It was very full on, and I felt reality completely flatten out at one point - everything was "unreal", including me of course. I think if I'd had that experience when I was younger it would have really fucked me over but by this age I've experienced enough to be able to tell myself it will pass... Anyway, the most interesting thing about the experience was coming down and waking up in the morning with a sense of gratitude for sanity. Knowing my name, knowing how a lighter works etc.

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    The thing I have most enjoyed about mushrooms is the feeling of the frontal brain relaxing, the critical inner voice being somehow tamed, apparently able to think clearly at last - a sense of calm that one might not expect.

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    u don't need psychs when u get into microtonal music.

    At least that was my realisation eventually.

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    Ego death is formative, it's easy once you understand it's not something you can fight, and just accept it.

    Many, many years ago I had an intense metaphorical experience whilst hanging around for some mates at the edge of a large, dark wood terrified of what lay inside and wracked with anxiety for what seemed like an interminable period (it was probably only about 15 minutes). I then just accepted that I could do nothing to fight whatever monsters lay in wait and stepped into the trees. Never had a problem dealing with it afterwards.

    This went hand in hand with realising that if just a tiny, microscopic fragment of a chemical substance can so radically affect your perception, thinking and sense of self, that the self itself must be simply a construct, an illusion.
    Last edited by droid; 19-06-2018 at 11:03 PM.

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