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Ishmael Fleishman

Hallucinogens, Psychedelics, Consciousness & Reality

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My apologies for the verbose nature of this post, and I will surely lose many before this convulsion ends.


After a recent experience, I have been pondering the question of the nature of reality. This is a preliminary attempt to synthesise several interrelated ideas on the outer limits of thought. Many of these ideas have been postulated by the likes of Animism, the Buddha, William Blake, Carl Jung, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Terence Mckenna, Ram Dass, Neuroscience and even Cosmology; however never fully expressed as follows:


ONE - The structure of the brain limits our capacity to experience reality, and all we believe to be real is a transcribed interpretation of what is out there. This phenomenon is often described as the reducing valve, and therefore, what we consider to be reality is an insipid facsimile of reality's true breadth and scope. 


TWO - Psychedelics are one possible means by which we may, for a short time, where total immersion in reality becomes possible. Width mediation and enlightenment are the others.


THREE - The multiverse, with the help of plants and fungi, are teachers that produce compounds to help these stupid big-brain primates called humans understand the true nature of the multiverse. We suffer because we are attached to our reducing-valve-induced delusions.


FOUR: Psychedelic compounds are not hallucinogens; they do not make us see or experience what does not exist but allow us to fully comprehend what is.


FIVE: That consciousness is not the product of the brain. It is not merely the result of incessant firings of mechanistic neurons; the brain is a consciousness transceiver tuned into the multiverse, a node on a trans-dimensional information super interchange. That our consciousness is the collective unconscious part of an unceasing ebb and flow between all creation from the beginning to the end of time and beyond, permeating the multiverse. A force no less real than that of gravity and possibly just as subtle.


SIX: To fully engage with reality means tapping into a trans-dimensional multiverse we experience as consciousness. A multiverse filled with beings, creatures and all of us, the very Godhead itself.


Now my musing is this - If there is any validity to this understanding of our place in reality. Then reality is something stupendously wondrous, even more so than the fervent delusion of a madman.


Yet, I can hear the reductionist carrion call who rejects such notions as the ravings of madmen, who argues we are all just meat machines, nothing more than glorified bags of excrement strung out on a chemical soup of misfiring neurotransmitters suffering with contemptible delusions groping in the dark, staring at the shadows on the cave.

Edited by Ishmael Fleishman

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This is well put. I'm interested, however, in the sudden jump from point 1 to points 2-6.


It is well established that our experinece of material reality is a representation rather than an exact copy of a self-subsisting reality, however, that representation is derived from engagement with material things and can be verfied or falsified empirically. That doesn't mean these are absolute things in a reductionist sense, but they do provide support for the objectivity of judgment.


But when you jump to level 2, you are now describing religious revelation that has no material ground, and in that context I'd like to know how you determine that is not also another (very supercharged) representation, or "delusion" constructed out of you own subjective experinece and cultural milieu - after all, "multiverse" is a rather westernised idea...


Which is to say, I think your rundown is potentially very close to the "truth" and well articulated, but what I am interested in are the grounds you use to determine that that experience is a "full comprehension" and not a subjective experinece predicated on personal faith?


The analogy of the cave is an interesting one to use in that respect. Plato said you must meditate on the Ideas, or Forms, suprasensible essences of things, the highest of which in the Form of the Good, to get out of the cave. But actually all Plato produced was a subjective opinion that he couldn't verify, after all, what really is the Form of the Good, or "Beauty in itself" which he claims to know? He also talks about a "Godhead".


It does seem really important to tap into that "space" one way or another, but how can you demonstrate whether it is actual or not? Conversely, the creative potential and lessons learned from that space can always be grounded in tangible things.



Edited by Micromegas
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My hope is to start a conversation. I have no answers.


Micromegas you have correctly pointed out the core of my question and my OP is very much a question



demonstrate whether it is actual or not


My OP was a question as much as it was a summation of my understanding.


My summation does contain a "leap of faith". Because religious revelation provides a language for an ineffable experience.


In my OP I asking very much what is real? This is why I muse about points 1 - 6 and if they are true then



Then reality is something stupendously wondrous, even more so than the fervent delusion of a madman.


However in saying the above I am questioning - however can something so stupendously wondrous be real? and why I finish questioning are we



 all just meat machines, nothing more than glorified bags of excrement strung out on a chemical soup of misfiring neurotransmitters suffering with contemptible delusions groping in the dark, staring at the shadows on the cave.


Leaving open the possibility that the



subjective experience (IS) predicated on personal faith


and it being nothing more then a personal psychological construct.


However I feel that these experiences are part of a collective human experience - maybe they are just a shared delusion of human consciousness but even that would make then stupendously wondrous.

Edited by Ishmael Fleishman

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A worthwhile discussion, I think, no matter how many times it occurs in these cyberspaces! And despite the large numbers of thinkers entering this philosophical fray based on plant medicine experiences it is always worthwhile to consider what those titans of philosophy from our past have concluded. It is unfortunate I think that some have mystical experiences but don't see the value in actually studying what has been said before about these experiences and then using these past thinkers to re-consider their own experiences in light of this.


So I applaud your invitation to consider what the Buddha and Plato, for example, had to say about all this. We then can factor in our plant-based medicine experiences into their theories. Of course, the problem that then arises is the difficulty of understanding these great thinkers and the tremendous effort that has to be invested in order to do so. On top of that difficulty, there is another one: these great thinkers of the past, Buddha and Plato particularly, thought that it is impossible to understand their teachings in their entirety without practicing certain exercises (like meditation) in very precise ways, with tremendous vigor and dedication, over a prolonged period of time!


So, it is worth adding this particular consideration to this discussion: according to both the Buddha and Plato (i.e., Socrates) one needs to first live a spiritual life in order to gain the mental capacity to know things as they truly are. What is the spiritual life that they describe? Unfortunately it is virtue. I say unfortunately because our current culture and education discredits virtue and leaves us with very little experience and inclination towards developing virtue. What is virtue? Unfortunately it is morality (do unto others, including the Earth herself, as you would have them do unto you--to put something complex into a simple package). I say unfortunately again, because becoming morally good is laughed at within our culture and age as the foolishness of those who deny the harsh nature of reality. That is, we have received an education that is first and foremost grounded in the survival mentality: i.e, "I need to get enough to survive because otherwise no one else will do that for me." This fear-based orientation makes a serious consideration of morality as more than a social nicety (a collectively determined idea put into law so that there is order in society) very difficult. Much more so, actually living according to moral standards. Nonetheless, both the Buddha and Plato were very clear that virtue (of which morality is a defining part) is the first step in the process of waking up, so to speak, to what is actually real and what is not. And without that development, such a waking up is simply not possible.


Maybe, however, plant medicines can jump start this process perhaps by giving some experience that leads one to gain a sentiment towards others necessary for developing a truly moral, virtuous life? That's the really interesting question when considering what the Buddha and Plato had to teach at least.

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Surely one of the most profound benefits of the psychedelic experience is realising there is SO much you don't know, sometimes to the point where you question whether you 'know' anything at all... :scratchhead:

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