What exactly do people learn from psychedelics?

  1. Crazy Insane Sanity
    I posted this in a thread, and then decided I liked it so much, I'm adding it to my blog!

    Original post: http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=776364&postcount=91


    I'm utterly sick of people claiming psychedelics show you the meaning of life, or unveils some great mysteries of the universe, but I've always had a little trouble getting my point across to others. I've been trying to understand epistemology lately, and it provoked me to write this...hope it helps my cause.

    What psychedelics do for my pet dog is connect ideas together that normally wouldn't have so readily been associated with one another. It's like this powerful tool for supercharging abductive reasoning, and through this reasoning my dog can form unique hypotheses that normally wouldn't have been thought of. This, then, allows him to soberly evaluate his hypothesis, make predictions, and if warranted, have me try to confirm it, to the best of my ability, through empirical experimentation and observation. His ideas aren't always correct, but they aren't always wrong either. My dog says that many times they can even bring things to his attention that, in retrospect, should have been obvious.

    Psychedelics allow one to view the world in unique perspectives, but those perspectives still belong to the ontology of the mind, and as such are subject to human error. The same epistemic methods of analysis need to be applied to determine the relevancy of one's "revelations." If someone believes whatever they are told by the psychedelic experience, based on the premise that it's revealing some great truth to them, they'd be able to rationalize their way into believing just about anything...I guess what I'm trying to say is that despite how profound the ideas that pop into one's head might feel, that person would still need to apply proper epistemic methods of justification and objective analysis to reasonably assert those ideas as baring any level of truth.

    It's also important to hold a level of skepticism towards one's epiphanies, in order to avoid twisting the objective facts to suite currently held beliefs, as opposed to twisting one's beliefs to fit the facts. Beware of logical fallacy...it makes fools of us all. ;)

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  1. mindlikealaserbeam
    I agree that, when SWIone is having a psychedelic experience, it is good to be aware that SWIone should review SWIone's conclusions later and take it all with a grain of salt. The sense of meaningfulness that many people have reported is likely the result of one of the ways that many psychedelic drugs can act upon certain areas of the brain (specifically, stimulation of metabolic & electrochemical activity in the temporal lobe & associated areas of the limbic system). It is known that these areas become more active when an individual is having an intense religious experience, and also when they are near death. There is even a scientist who has built a machine that can stimulate these specific areas of the brain with electromagnetic waves. People who have used this machine report that it is an intensely pleasurable and meaningful experience, and the interviews that can easily be seen on (popular video content site) seem to reflect that they take their experiences of it very seriously. These people are not stupid. They are smart, Canadian college kids at a nice University, and they know that it was just a machine. Still, they cannot deny how it made them feel. Try searching for videos about "The God Helmet" and "Dr. Persinger". SWIM would like to try this. It sounds like fun, although it does nothing to assuage the anomie in which he has been drowning for the past several years. It seems that the entirety of the human experience of meaningfulness can be whittled down to a mere neurological phenomenon. How, then could the experiences be authentic? Perhaps there is no real meaning. SWIM would rather suffer a little in the black void of such a thought if the alternative is to believe in some BS just to make himself feel better. He prefers to use substances, sex, social support, fun, exciting work, etc to accomplish that end when possible. He also likes questions better than answers.

    There's a good chance that your pet dog will experience this artificial sense of profound importance and deep meaning if he takes a substance that may induce a psychedelic experience. Why fight it? Why not enjoy the experience while it lasts and be sensible later? It's not like your dog, in his intoxicated state, will be able to convince his future, sober self to believe in some bogus epiphany that he's had. SWIM thinks that the worst case scenario is that your dog might say something to someone else that will make him look silly. What's so bad about that? Oh wait. Scratch that. SWIM said that the real worst case scenario is that your dog might waste his psychedelic experience by trying to stay in control and telling himself that "it's not real." If your dog is too determined to keep his feet on the ground, then it might be impossible for him to loosen up and get his head into the clouds just for once. SWIM also said that some of the best lessons your dog can learn from a psychedelic experience are experiential lessons. Here's an example of something your dog might learn: that your dog is imperfect; he cannot be Mr. Smartypants all the time, especially while under the influence of psychedelics, and this is OK. Hell, it could even be fun for your dog.
  2. gergmacmillan
    swim definitely agrees with the description, and thinks your dog has a pretty good idea of what psychedelics can do when used correctly. one thing : swim is also sick of dumbass people saying stupid things (like psychedelics showed me the truths of the universe, meaning of life etc), however would like to add that this doesn't detract from the potential spiritual power of an experience (not what he views as religious spirit). the 'filling of spirit', the drive that can come after a good trip or any sort of revelation that powers you onwards and upwards. swim thinks of this as the true 'human spirit' (the energy that drove the evolution of our species) and is sad to say he sees little of it in many of his co habitators of this planet. psychedelics have shown swim the way back to this (even in terms of a model for a more sound existence), which is where another spin off point from swiy's post comes in... it IS important to keep a level of skepticism, and in swim's opinion, just as important to realize that often it is not so much important that something is 'true' (in the case of activating your mind for example), as it is that you can use it as a model for life. put in context of his example: if 'being filled with spirit', or absorbing spirit, from an experience or another person etc, is viewed in the right way (and not dismissed as pseudo-religious hoodoo) is believed by swim, and swim uses this thought construct to live better and appreciate his potential role as a self-empowered agent of evolution (per se =D), then he is proving that the idea has value/legitimacy whether or not this phenomenon is proved scientifically (which it probably will be with a better understanding of neuroscience and psychology in swims opinion)... swim just realized that he is TIRED, and this probably made little sense haha. hopefully at least some of his symbols made it across the medium of language into someones head, in some way and are not just total WTF moments =P. and good post idea/ explanation and wish i could've been as clear cut and concise, hopefully come back to this when the sleep dep wears off =D
  3. rawbeer
    I totally agree - if I may make a comparison with cannabis, a big problem with that drug is that its proponents often say it is utterly harmless and totally great. But of course even a pretty safe drug like pot or caffeine has its dangers, and advocates of the drug need to be the first to admit it. If the advocate steps up and discusses the dangers first then he/she takes some wind out of his/her opponents sails.

    With psychedelics the problem is similar - advocates often claim such drugs can have amazing, mind-altering powers and can teach you the mysteries of the universe, as if you can just pop a hit and this will happen. In fact it takes a lot more than just taking drugs, it takes metaphysical and physical investigation into the nature of reality, and one's own self, which must be done with great care not to rush to conclusions. The many people out there who have taken LSD or similar drugs and gotten mind-fucked (look up HL Humes) and wound up basically crazy, or just stuck on very spurious conclusions, should be proof enough that these drugs aren't a "instant genius, just add LSD" thing.

    Giving a person a microscope doesn't make them a scientist. LSD doesn't make you an instant mystic, or genius, or anything. It is a tool, and a tool on its own doesn't do any work. That's up to the individual.

    One should question all of one's beliefs, especially the more far-out ones, and always take things with the proverbial grain of salt. Making false, inflated claims about drugs is a disservice to those drugs, and a service to prohibitionists.
  4. chaos69
    Couldn't agree more. SwiC once made a life changing decision Whilst tripping and was so convinced it was right. but later when sober he thought about it (luckily before he acted on it) and realized how wrong he was. Still glad he changed his mind on the matter.
  5. themidnighttoker
    Interesting, my Hamster has also been studying Epistemology (Mostly Descartes, but some Leibniz too). He wasn't really buying alot of it until after a few drug-induced experiences after the class started and he had a chance to reflect on it. My Hamster believes that the revelations that are made during these experiences are primarily due to the delirium that many Psychadelics/Hallucinogens cause. If someone on LSD believes they think they can fly, then maybe what you are talking about is the opposite. e.g. Maybe instead of discovering something new they didn't know (that may or may not be true), some people discover things they already knew, but perhaps have false beliefs about.

    Also, I thought it was ironic SWIY mentioned logic...when you can sit on your couch and have a conversation with your pillow, you know logic's gone out the window:laugh:.

    I don't know if SWIY read it, but in one of my Hamster's posts in the DXM forum he mentioned a theory he had concocted during a particular trip. Not so much based on mathematics or existence as it is on a more psychological/sociological basis. My Hamster came to the conclusion, somehow, after some contemplation, he began to realise how much time he was wasting just sitting and thinking of 'reason.' He came to realise that reason must, in itself, be nothing but a distraction, that keeps even the most keen and scientific minds away from what is really important; e.g. advancement and survival. Obviously the theory my Hamster made has no bearing on scientifc/philosophical thought, but during the trip it sounded like fresh and groundbreaking ideas.

    Since then, my Hamster has concluded, like I said above, this is most likely just due to the delirium many psychadelics cause. Despite some being able to unlock hidden or untapped creative and artistic potential, I don't fully believe they have the innate ability to cause greater logical thought processes. Perhaps with some, who are able to think rationally even when stone drunk, may be able to still retain their ability to reason logically, but I'm not for sure. Because God knows when SWIM is drunk he can't think logically at all.
  6. Crazy Insane Sanity
    I know. ;)

    I like the concept of emergent materialism.

    I like to think (notice my wording) the progression of society is the biggest meaning in life. If your a religious man, this should be your goal. If your agnostic or Atheist, then this should be an even bigger priority, as the only thing that will exist when your gone, if you don't have a soul, will be what you contribute to society and how society uses it.

    He doesn't fight it, but he doesn't put "faith" in it either...like so many people he's seen that believe some crazy idea they had, just because they felt so emotional towards it at the time. He says it's always fun to experience the craziness of the psychedelic mind, but just because something feels right while under the influence of a drug, that so many say to be the revealer of secrets (which can be misleading to some), doesn't count for proper justification of that belief.

    Sounds like a bad trip...of course Swiy needs to let go, but after the trip, remain skeptical about the "epiphanies" he had.

    It's not impossible...it sounds an awful lot like ego death actually. I hear fighting something like that is pretty stupid.

    My dog learned he isn't perfect, or all knowing long long ago, and although a lot of people often accuse my dog of being too smart, he isn't...he doesn't know shit and he knows this (lol). It's not his fault that he has a drive to learn, unlike the mass of idiots we call the general public, and it's downright stupid for criticizing him for trying to properly learn about things he doesn't understand.

    Thanks for your great, informative contribution, I really appreciate it...but you seem to have made an awful lot of incorrect assumptions about my dog in the process. He tried not to take too much offense to it though, as you made some valid points using those assumptions.
  7. mindlikealaserbeam
    In response to

    [/QUOTE]My dog learned he isn't perfect, or all knowing long long ago, and although a lot of people often accuse my dog of being too smart, he isn't...he doesn't know shit and he knows this. It's not his fault that he knows more than the mass of idiots we call the general public, and it's downright stupid for criticizing him for trying to properly learn about things he doesn't understand.[/QUOTE]

    SWIM would like to offer his deepest apologies, as he likes SWIYour blog and SWIYour thought process very much and he didn't mean to come across sounding critical. He just wanted to offer SWIY something that he learned from his own psychedelic experiences in hopes that it might be helpful to SWIY in some way.

    He doesn't think your dog is trying to be too smart. In fact, he doesn't think that there is any such thing. On the contrary, he thinks that anti-intellectualism is a plague on modern society that should be wiped out as quickly and aggressively as possible. He thinks that individuals such as your dog represent a positive force in that endeavor.

    Upon re-reading his original statement, he can see how it may not have come across to your dog as he intended. He sometimes gets enthusiastic and forgets about the many ways that written communication cannot carry the same information as verbal dialogue. He will try to write more carefully in the future.
  8. Crazy Insane Sanity
    No offense taken. I half suspected I was miss-reading it, but I wasn't sure. Thanks for the clarification. :)

    And I mean't the general public criticizes my dog...not that you were. I wasn't sure if you were or not, so I tried to make my point without specifically pointing my finger. I suppose I could've phrased it a bit better myself. ;)
  9. Crazy Insane Sanity

    I couldn't agree more. In my dog's eyes, psychedelics increase one's ability to creatively connect concepts. It basically amplifies the imagination, but as Einstein once put it, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Anyone can pile in knowledge, but it takes a strong imagination to figure out unique ways of connecting and integrating all that information in ways other people haven't yet thought of.

    So, as my dog understands it, psychedelics don't increase knowledge, but if there is a strong enough knowledge base, they can help connect different aspects of that knowledge in unique ways...of course this would only allow one to form interesting and unique hypotheses. It doesn't actually teach anything, and that's why those hypotheses must be tested to be considered even remotely true.

    There is actually some research that's been done involving indirect semantic priming and psilocybin.
    I wish I could remember where the actual study was...

    And another thing...
    I wasn't saying that one should apply logic to his thoughts while tripping...that'd likely prove to be quite difficult. :)

    Can't say my dog has ever talked to inanimate objects before though...he tends to at least stay sane enough to tell the difference between a pillow and a person. :D
  10. Smeg
  11. convalescent
    SWIM believes psychedelics open our minds to (generally impossible and unthinkable) probabilities. Usually, psychedelic experiences do have some general rules (i.e. tunnel visions, etc, regular stuff), but there is always this element of surprise, if you may call that way. SWIM remembers his first time of psychedelic experiences, and mostly those experiences were wonderful because they managed to show a new unexpected perspective towards things, matters of universe etc. And yes - this is no "I know the meaning" stuff, cause generally - we're only given the means to try to find the meaning, not the meaning itself - circa knowing the meaning would pretty much ruin "the game".

    There's also the usual personal depth and revelations, but then again - just because the psychedelics make you think outside the box. When you usually think about a certain individual problem, you tend to box the probable outcomes of the situation into some set of rules (i.e., "I will not do this and that, because it could hurt him or her"), but when on psychedelic one is able to get a "tabula rasa" perspective towards the situation. Well, but that's just SWIMs thoughts of this very second.
  12. CoreyCannabis
    amazing. it must of took you forever to realize this information. the human mind is a beautiful thing for the right reasons. you're a good soul bro. i kinda figured as much as to the skepticism, and the human error, but never thought THAT deep into it. That truely is amazing. They should put this on the news,!, if they werent so damn hypocritical, and corrupt.
  13. Jasim
    Reading over this reminded me of an experience my turtle once had. If you don't mind, I'd like to share it to illustrate some points.

    My turtle, Clover, had a very profound experience on third plateau of a DXM guided trip, which was heightened with the use of several supplementary substances which I can't remember at this moment (have to look at my notes).

    It is Clover's belief that due to mental heuristics, natural processes in the mind/brain that reduce complexity for more simplified processing, cause people to develop comfortable mental blocks that prevent them from easily seeing things which should be obvious.

    In Clover's particular situation, he believes that this is what had happened. Clover had been undergoing a lot of meditative shamanistic training, which I can elaborate on further if someone wants to know more. Getting back to my story, this was the most profound experience Clover has ever had on any type of psychedelic, or otherwise actually.

    Once the trip kicked in fully, Clover became lost in the dissociative world of DXM. His trip-sitter/guide was laying next to Clover on his bed and reach out and grabbed Clover's hand. He constructed an orange room around Clover, pushing back the muddled confusion of the DXM world. He told Clover to follow him (in the trip) and guided Clover to see several incredible sites.

    The first place they visited was the nexus of meaning in the universe. Clover only remembers it as an immense glowing light-blue ball of loving energy. Clover did not understand the light, but it made him very calm and at peace.

    I believe there was one other place, but can't remember it at the moment. I don't have my notes in front of me. But the third place Clover traveled to was the most important.

    Clover's guide took him to see his soul. Clover remembers it very well. It was like looking into a mirror, only in three dimensions. And the image of himself was like a being made up of lightning. The colors black, electric blue, and white pulsated across his being. As this image materialized in front of him, Clover's guide pointed out a gash of damage, which clover perceived as a dark looking large cut along the right side of his abdomen. Clover's guide then proceeded to repair Clover's broken soul and make it whole again. Clover saw the gash heal and a magnificent white light spread over the image of his soul, in that single instance everything changed for Clover.

    Almost immediately Clover was flooded with an understanding of the meaning of life as it became known to him. The trip quickly dissipated as Clover sat straight up in bed, a look of awe on his face. The thing that he learned from this experience, and that forever changed his life, was that all people in some way hurt inside and it is this hurt that many times guides our actions. Clover came to understand that if all people looked inside themselves and honestly sought out the truth, then they could do amazing things.

    Since this experience Clover has become much more empathetic and has developed an amazing awareness of the feelings of others. His listening skills and interpersonal relationships have changed dramatically for the better. He now actively seeks out those in need who will accept his help in trying to repair their souls. He recognizes that the feelings of others are always valid, even if the rational behind those feelings isn't. This single trip experience cause a dramatic change in Clover's life almost instantaneously and continues to develop the insights into human nature and interpersonal relationships that he first had during this trip.

    Sorry for such a long post. I just wanted to share what Clover has learned from psychedelics. Several things I want to point out regarding this experience report.

    1. Set and setting were crucial for this experience. Clover had been undergoing months of meditative training and self-discovery, without which I doubt that such an experience would have taken place. And Clover had a very close and loving friend who acted as Clover's guide and tripsitter. Clover went into the trip with the goal of self-discovery.

    2. None of what Clover learned couldn't have been learned without the use of psychedelics. Psychedelics simply provided the catalyst that allowed Clover to break down the mental barriers that he had created over time.

    3. Clover did not take any mystical or spiritual type of thinking from this experience, though he easily could have. Clover recognized that the things he saw were only a result of the experience itself and not some ethereal, outside force. What Clover did take was the valuable insights he gained into understanding human nature and his own condition.

    Thanks for reading. I promise I won't try to hijack your blog again! I thought it was relevant to the discussion. :)
  14. Crazy Insane Sanity
    Excellent post Jasim...thanks for sharing his experience!

    So long as you keep it that interesting and informative, you can hijack my blogs anytime you want. ;)
  15. fiveleggedrat
    Swim finds psyches remove the garbarge imprinted on our brains by modern culture and such. Like that fact that everyone largely pursues physical possessions as motivation for daily life, a big part of why so many humans are obsessed with themselves. They allow for digging deep down into instinct and the natural human mind, without anything to prevent one, like the sober mind :)

    Swim used to be about himself. Now it's about helping all people, the species at large, yknow? We should all be able to benefit from each other. Advancing our progression at large.

    That's from a few intense, spiritual trips via potent Nepalese mushrooms. Just one of many lessons from 'em.
  16. Crazy Insane Sanity
    My dog has also had trips where he thought of this. However my dog also recalls a couple intense trips where he had came to the conclusion that all life is pointless...we shouldn't even be here, and we're all gonna die anyway. Had he of just accepted that, he'd probably be in a pretty bad place right now, but instead he sobered up and questioned his experience, and it helped drive him to find reasons for being here, and understand why it's important to help society. Meaning and worth are found here and now, and what matters is what we do to make the world a better place while it's here, rather than worrying about some eternal goal.

    It wasn't the shrooms that taught my dog the meaning of life. They only drove my dog to question what it's meaning is.
  17. Heretic.Ape.
    To this I'd say he stumbled on the fact that the tool of reason can sometimes become rather neurotic and waste time while one could be further experiencing life rather than demanding it explain its self in terms I can understand.

    The term psychedelic means literally "mind manifesting", so it is one's mind one is seeing spilling out into the disrupted in/out mechanisms of the brain.

    Thus one can say they have found the meaning of the universe on a psychedelic, but this will always be subjective. But is there an objective with which to compare "meaning"?

    Profound experiences are usually people being truly introspective with their defenses down for perhaps the first time in their lives. It can be rather impacting to see that the way you habitually react mentally and behaviorally is not usually in contact with your core values or that there are vistas of experience beyond anything previously dreamed of.

    The revelation comes not from the drug but from yourself.

    There is also the notion of the fact that we are literally part of the universe and science seems to indicate the old "as above, so below" maxim may not be far off the mark when one steps outside of one's ego. Last my limited understanding of physics heard it is impossible to tease apart one's consciousness from the actions of matter.

    I make no claim, just some of my thoughts. It's a strange universe and life is a strange thing and the only bits I understand seem to be heuristics for pragmatically navigating a sea of experience.

    I prefer to let go of thought completely while on psychedelics and go toward the blissful void of consciousness beholding itself. I leave my silly little monkey-mind context-laden metaphysics at the door and simply experience the sheer awe, beauty and wonder of something both more intimately me and more universal than anything else in my experience. But it's all a matter of preference. To me there's nothing as ecstatic, nothing so rewarding and teaching than this inexplicable and wholly unspeakable state.

    It leaves me centered, present, at peace and whole for some time after.
  18. Lex_Talioniz
    Psychedelics open you up to the inner workings and deeper processes of your own mind. Pay attention. Master yourself and the universe will follow.
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