Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Strange Brew
February 3, 2008 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Ayahuasca: A Strange Brew. "Can a psychotropic jungle potion cure the existential angst of the McMansion set?" Previously.
posted by homunculus (84 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, the '60s are really back.


“It brings your awareness to a place where it’s understood that you are connected to everything on Earth,” he says. “If everyone had a chance to do ayahuasca, the entire reality would shift and we would be living in peace.”


Dude.......







Wait, what were we talking about?
posted by nasreddin at 10:43 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why should anyone or thing "cure the existential angst of the McMansion set?" Damn, they have a mansion, shouldn't they have to legally harbor some angst when they realize how the rest of the world lives? Not wishing a bad trip on anyone, but hopefully an educational trip for these people.
posted by not_on_display at 10:43 AM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Please Register or Log In

Bugmenot.
posted by homunculus at 10:46 AM on February 3, 2008


Ayahuasca Visions - If these paintings move you, then the book is definitely worth tracking down.

Interview with Jeremy Narby, author of The Cosmic Serpent
posted by carsonb at 10:51 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Scene: Iquitos, Peru. Date: July, 2006. Place: Outdoor cafe. A young backpacker writes in his notebook and drinks a beer, listening to the strange cacophony of a jungle town. Overheard at the table next to his:

American idiot #1: Dude, I can't describe it. It'll make you feel alive.
American idiot #2: Like what do you mean, alive?
AI1: Alive. Aware. I saw something that made everything make sense. I feel calm.
AI2: Where did you go to do this?
AI1: It was just this hut in the jungle. There was a shaman there. He was so wise. You see, the people here, they know the jungle. They know the roots, the leaves. Everything. Everything fits together.
AI2: Are you going again? Can I join you?
AI1: I must be moving on. I fly back to the states in a few days. But I feel like you will find your path there, if it is your destiny. I mean that.
AI2: Cool. One more question. How much does it, you know. Cost?
posted by billysumday at 10:52 AM on February 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Has anyone tried Ayahuasca both and psilocybin mushrooms? How do they compare?
posted by delmoi at 10:57 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


C'mon, this is an fpp? A single link [excluding "previously"] to a login screen?
posted by humannaire at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2008


I heard cocaine is awesome and you don't need a login to try it.
posted by Frank Grimes at 11:07 AM on February 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


CBC Radio One's Ideas recently broadcast a two-part story about Ayahuasca called "In Search of the Divine Vegetal". I haven't gotten around to listening to to the podcasts yet, so I can't vouch for the quality, but they can be downloaded here (just scroll down a bit).
posted by freem at 11:13 AM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Having tried those logins from Bugmenot without success, I'm beginning to believe that Bugmenot is an shared hallucination.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:15 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a distinct feeling that, before much longer, the McMansion set aren't going to have to worry about existential angst anymore. I think they'll be working a little lower on the Maslow pyramid...
posted by Naberius at 11:21 AM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


To prepare for his ayahuasca drinkers, he pulled an all-nighter, clearing the ceremonial space of negative energies with tobacco smoke.

I'm not coating your walls with tar and filling your lungs with 3-4 Benzopyrine from my cigarette, I'm clearing your ceremonial space of negative energies.
posted by Tube at 11:21 AM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's a pretty good article, but nothing anyone familiar with DMT/ayahuasca hasn't read before.

The experience is as good as advertised. Truly amazing.
posted by hincandenza at 11:22 AM on February 3, 2008


More info on the eagle-condor myth/metaphor/prophecy/thing/whatever.
posted by Moistener at 11:22 AM on February 3, 2008


You can also read a interesting article about Ayahuasca (partly about the legal aspects in the USA, partly some personal experiences, and partly some weird hippie talk, but nothing about McMansions) from the Walrus magazine.
posted by ssg at 11:24 AM on February 3, 2008


Tube: I'm not coating your walls with tar and filling your lungs with 3-4 Benzopyrine from my cigarette, I'm clearing your ceremonial space of negative energies.
Yeah, I don't get why these wanna-be shamans don't just cut away the trappings. I guess the clients who see them want such silliness? Or think it necessary? Me, I think the whole point is that it cuts away your illusory notions of the forms of spiritual understanding, a kind of an internal Protestant reformation. Taking away one secular church and then replacing it with "fire altars" and "clearing energies" is not actually helping.
posted by hincandenza at 11:24 AM on February 3, 2008


Best MeFi meetup ever.
posted by Moistener at 11:31 AM on February 3, 2008


Didn't we have this conversation just a few days ago about LSD? Me, I'm still waiting for the Altered States thing to happen.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:35 AM on February 3, 2008


D'autres mondes is an amazing documentary I recently came across. It features fantastic rendered sequences, narrated by the individual experiencing them. Fascinating series of interviews as well, with natives of the culture as well as various artists and scientists.
posted by prostyle at 11:38 AM on February 3, 2008


DMT has some pretty bad effects for chronic users, things like permanent tinnitus. The metabolites aren't excreted as expected, leading one to wonder where they go.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:43 AM on February 3, 2008


StickyCarpet: Can you elaborate on your claim re: permanent tinnitus?
posted by Moistener at 11:51 AM on February 3, 2008


I prefer to clear my ceremonial space of negative energies with bourbon.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:57 AM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Hey, remember when I dropped my keys and you thought the phone was ringing?
posted by wfrgms at 11:57 AM on February 3, 2008


The metabolites aren't excreted as expected, leading one to wonder where they go.

Dude, they build up in your spinal column until you end up jumping out of a window while staring at the sun (right after killing your dog for looking at you funny). Luckily all this happens before the Olney's lesions in your brain make you forget where you live.
posted by Drexen at 12:05 PM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


I heard cocaine is awesome and you don't need a login to try it.

Not the first time, anyway...
posted by jonmc at 12:07 PM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


And now another group of people will find out that even after being blasted through a crystal tower made of history and light, being shown (by an unborn futuretigersnake) that identity is a construct, and had their sense of self-place pulled from their nose through their anus by a beam of ancient lightning, that they're still a bunch of assholes.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 12:08 PM on February 3, 2008 [17 favorites]


My last mushroom trip almost made me a Lacanian. It was weird.
posted by nasreddin at 12:19 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've tried ayahuasca in a ceremonial setting and it was extremely interesting. I should mention that I've always been a hard-head with respect to psychedelics -- it takes a lot to get me off and I didn't quite experience ego death with this one either. It was a remarkably good drug for self-insight -- I asked myself a lot of questions and got what I felt were accurate answers. Unfortunately, no great self-insights, it was more like, "Keep it up, you're more or less doing the right thing," which was pretty disappointing at the time because I was just coming out of a traumatic breakup and was hoping for, well, something.

They mention that the sound of people vomiting is like lions roaring and strangely enough, it's quite true. I hate throwing up; I really hate it; really really. Throwing up on yage was sort of transcendentally bad, but of course that made me giggle too.

Other people in the room had some serious effects. People cried for hours. One man was in a state where he only saw whirling colours and worse, couldn't remember a time when he wasn't just seeing that and expected to see that forever. "Time has stopped!" he groaned at this point. Someone danced for hours with a light -- that was spectacular.

The usual perceptual and visual distortions that I so love, mmm.... the colours.... and even some serious visuals when I closed my eyes, ranks of British milk trucks and chimneys, very Yellow Submarine, and meccano-like twisting shapes.

All very edifying. Apparently, there are places in Brooklyn that were doing this at some point in the past but this was upstate.

Comparing it to mushrooms or acid, well -- it's the same planet you're visiting, but a different country.

Very strong stuff. Be careful!

(I also did a ritual with these folks, back in the day, but that's another story... they were pretty weird!)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:35 PM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's a pretty good article, but nothing anyone familiar with DMT/ayahuasca hasn't read before.

We should make that an automatic Jaded MeFite template:

It's a pretty good article, but nothing anyone familiar with the sex lives of Peruvian yellow finches hasn't read before.

It's a pretty good article, but nothing anyone familiar with medieval Bulgarian metaphysicians hasn't read before.

It's a pretty good article, but nothing anyone familiar with the dialect poetry of Pasquale Volpi hasn't read before.

posted by languagehat at 12:36 PM on February 3, 2008 [33 favorites]


Yeah...I'm gonna stick with the 'shrooms, thanks.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:36 PM on February 3, 2008


And now another group of people will find out that even after [...] they're still a bunch of assholes.

Most transformative experiences wear off as time goes on -- it's the nature of the world. But there's still a lesson learned. I think such an experience would make a better person of anyone.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:38 PM on February 3, 2008


StickyCarpet: Can you elaborate on your claim re: permanent tinnitus?

I have the book here somewhere, a compilation of drug-induced disasters, sorry I'm not going to find it. But this was an anecdote, yes, but a sobering one. The lady was a concert pianist and IIRC she was given a baggy of the stuff as some kind of collateral from an ex. She dipped into it regularly and concurrently developed the hearing problem.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:45 PM on February 3, 2008


Aren't these pretty much the same exact claims that were made about LSD, peyote, psilocybin, and ecstasy when they were introduced? OMG, they'll connect you with divinity! Make you one with the universe! Change your life!
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:57 PM on February 3, 2008


Aren't these pretty much the same exact claims that were made about LSD, peyote, psilocybin, and ecstasy when they were introduced? OMG, they'll connect you with divinity! Make you one with the universe! Change your life!

And they did!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:01 PM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


languagehat: We should make that an automatic Jaded MeFite template:
Jeez, what crawled up your behind this morning? The point I was making is that this article is the usual piece on DMT that makes its rounds, where the author rarely actually takes the stuff, reports on it in a banal sense, and offers no new perspective- no new legal status, no new angle, etc. At least with the National Geographic piece in the "Previously", the author tried it and reported on their experiences.

If you didn't know about ayahuasca by now, then yes that article might seem intriguing- but most mefites probably have read the previous discussions on DMT/ayahuasca, since we're such a jaded, cosmopolitan community. :)
Mitrovarr: Aren't these pretty much the same exact claims that were made about LSD, peyote, psilocybin, and ecstasy when they were introduced? OMG, they'll connect you with divinity! Make you one with the universe! Change your life!
That's a logical fallacy: even if the same claims were made in the past, that doesn't explicitly disprove the claims made about ayahuasca.

And in the right context, with the right approach, all of the drugs you mention could in fact do those things (on preview, as lupus_yonderboy said). However, if you're just popping mushrooms or ecstacy to chill out or party it up, then yeah you probably won't have any meaningful, introspective experiences. DMT/ayahuasca has a characteristic experience that is less just a visual light show. My own experiences make me wonder if it could ever be a rave or party drug, given how it works on a person.
posted by hincandenza at 1:07 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


lupus_yonderboy: And they did!

I don't remember anyone making any incredible cosmic discoveries on them, or a widespread adoption for therapeutic usage. I remember a whole lot of people trying them a few times, having fun (or not), and then going back to living exactly the same way they did before.

I don't care if people use these things for whatever reasons they want, but after all of these previous claims of higher enlightenment or grand cosmic knowledge that failed to produce any kind of actual proven discovery or external signs of enlightenment in the users, I'm more than a little skeptical.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:07 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aren't these pretty much the same exact claims that were made about LSD, peyote, psilocybin, and ecstasy when they were introduced? OMG, they'll connect you with divinity! Make you one with the universe! Change your life!

Will it change my life or will I still be reading Metafilter?
posted by Termite at 1:11 PM on February 3, 2008


I don't remember anyone making any incredible cosmic discoveries on them, or a widespread adoption for therapeutic usage.

MDMA probably should be in widespread use as a therapeutic aid, and almost certainly would be if it weren't fun and thus illegal.
posted by stammer at 1:18 PM on February 3, 2008


I don't remember anyone making any incredible cosmic discoveries on them,

Most discoveries are of a personal nature, of course.

or a widespread adoption for therapeutic usage.

The therapeutic value of psychedelics have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's not the science that's preventing them from being adopted.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:27 PM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


DMT has some pretty bad effects for chronic users, things like permanent tinnitus. The metabolites aren't excreted as expected, leading one to wonder where they go.

As someone who has done more DMT than everyone you've ever known combined, I can tell you firsthand - no permanent tinnitus. Although, granted, I did 5MEO-DMT, and not N,NDMT or Ayahuasca.

And to anyone who's interested in this sort of thing - DMT is a serious brain-change drug. Approach with caution. It ain't like psylocybin or LSD. The stuff you see on DMT - that shit is real. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do it, just be careful.

Always remember, you can't take the kingdom of heaven by force.
posted by Jake Apathy at 1:28 PM on February 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


I don't remember anyone making any incredible cosmic discoveries on them, or a widespread adoption for therapeutic usage.

What, the discovery of DNA isn't enough for you?


The personal computer revolution?

These are both things that have been discovered by way of inspiritional help attributed to the use of LSD. In the case of DNA - the discovery has been claimed that it was a direct - as in while he was intoxicated - influence.

The tale of the personal computer is, indeed, much more apocryphal - but the influence of psychedelics on personal computing cannot be denied out of hand. One of the whole reasons they were so driven to invent a "people's computer" was due to (ahem) "hippy" philosophies. Power to the people and all that - and tales of improved circuit or algorithm design during or post trip abound. Both historical tales and contemporary ones.

Even today, many programmers use psychedelics. Some even use them while programming.


How many other discoveries or inventions to we have psychedelics to thank for? It's not like people are ready and willing to stand up and be counted in the political environment we've fostered, and I'm sure the snarky, unscientific comments help lots, too.

But, no. Of course, psychedelics only make you crazy, right? They've never, ever helped anyone figure anything out about themselves.

How about LSD to treat alcoholism? Ibogaine to treat opiate addiction?

There are therapeutic uses. The lack of widespread adoption for therapy seems to be a product of ignorance and fear from the establishment - and a distinct lack of commercialization opportunities.

And there are recreational uses. Totally valid and justifiable recreational uses.


And tell me - where does therapy end and recreation begin?
posted by loquacious at 1:34 PM on February 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


And now another group of people will find out that even after being ... that they're still a bunch of assholes. -Stonestock Relentless

No joke. I've been around lots of the people mentioned in that and other similar articles, one or two being the so-called movers and shakers in the movement or whatever it is, and it's surprising to me that most I've met are indeed still that. Humility and mutual respect is too often disregarded on the path to enlightenment.
posted by christopherious at 1:34 PM on February 3, 2008


Mitrovarr: but after all of these previous claims of higher enlightenment or grand cosmic knowledge that failed to produce any kind of actual proven discovery or external signs of enlightenment in the users, I'm more than a little skeptical.
Emphasis mine- I find it very odd that you say that, it sounds very materialistic. Why, exactly, would you suppose that enlightment comes with neon lights and blaring heavenly trumpets? Must enlightenment display itself by an otherworldly glow or aura, so that all around you could bask in your enlightenment? Is enlightnment like driving a really fancy car, so that all your neighbors will watch you go by and whistle quietly to themselves, saying "Wow... there goes Bob and MAN is he enlightened!"

In the tarot, the Fool is card 0; I believe Joseph Campbell describes as akin to the hero's journey, undergoing a journey into the underworld (inner workings of the mind) before returning to the daylight. And in this journey, while the external often remains unchanged, it's the internal that is radically altered. So why would you imagine that a person who is enlightened will appear obviously different? What if enlightenment was just an inner serenity as one goes about daily life? Can't a person be enlightened and still hold a job, support a family, go to the movies, enjoy a bottle of wine with fine food and finer friends?
posted by hincandenza at 1:37 PM on February 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


So why would you imagine that a person who is enlightened will appear obviously different?

why assume that a person who has been enlightened isn't going to forget some of it or backslide some?

and as those who know the journey of the fool know, it's not a one time thing - no, you go around and around many times
posted by pyramid termite at 1:46 PM on February 3, 2008


I was given this drug back in the mid-90's by an animator friend. I don't know if they changed the laws but at the time it was perfectly legal to purchase through the pages of certain alternative health magazines. We had ingested the drug in tea form (it tasted like hot piss) with a handful of inhibitors. To say that it was the most potent hallucinatory experience I've ever had would be an understatement. After about 8 or 9 hours of hard tripping, I only came to my senses after violently attacking my hosts and destroying some of their property. I awoke covered in my own blood after trying to claw off my tattoos! But oddly enough, as terrifying as the experience was for me, I did feel closer to my own understanding of "self". I can see how this could be seen as a spiritual awakening. I don't know if many users share the same experience, but much of mine seemed to confront the things about myself that I did not like. Perhaps this is why the trip soured for me, I was entering into it with a certain amount of insecurities and self-loathing.
posted by cazoo at 1:49 PM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


loquacious: What, the discovery of DNA isn't enough for you?

That's not the kind of thing I'm talking about. You put a great scientist on psychadelics, he's still a great scientist. Maybe he thinks of something a little differently then before - that's great. However, I was more addressing the quasi-religious/philosophical discoveries that are always suggested.

Also, note that Linus Pauling would have probably had the structure of DNA within a couple of months anyway.

Even today, many programmers use psychedelics. Some even use them while programming.

That explains a lot of the software I've seen.

How about LSD to treat alcoholism? Ibogaine to treat opiate addiction?

I keep hearing about those, but they never seem to go anywhere. There aren't that big of barriers put into place to prevent legitimate uses for illegal drugs - hell, it seems like they come out with a new narcotic painkiller or a new amphetamine-based ADD med every year. I think there are some truly nasty political forces keeping pot out of medical science, but I doubt LSD and Ibogaine warrant the same treatment.

And there are recreational uses. Totally valid and justifiable recreational uses.

You know, I did say I don't care if people use it for whatever reason they want. I'm just skeptical of the whole 'higher knowledge' business. If you're doing it for fun, then fine, ok, whatever - hell, psilocybin is probably safer than aspirin, I'm not sure anyone's ever died of LSD, and for the ones that are dangerous, risking your own life is your right.

But seriously - they ARE the same claims that have came out with every psychadelic ever developed. Somehow the cosmic consciousness fails to arrive. Do you think, maybe, that there might not be anything you connect to by this route? That it might just be an illusion of being one with the universe, an illusion of understanding?
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:53 PM on February 3, 2008


hincandenza: So why would you imagine that a person who is enlightened will appear obviously different? What if enlightenment was just an inner serenity as one goes about daily life? Can't a person be enlightened and still hold a job, support a family, go to the movies, enjoy a bottle of wine with fine food and finer friends?

It seems that anything that would uncover great truths would cause a change in behavior of some kind. Surely, all the people who take these things live in different ways, think differently, and behave differently. If enlightenment consists of anything besides 'continue the course', it should be accompanied by radical changes in lifestyle for at least some of them. If it doesn't, well, doesn't it seems likely that it isn't enlightenment, but just an illusion of it that shows the viewer what they wanted to see? Certainly, it is more plausible that one would get that kind of experience from the neurochemical equivalent of poking your eye with a finger and seeing what colors appear.

We already know that people are very prone to seeing what they wanted to see or perceiving events the way they desired or expected. It seems very likely that in a completely unreliable experience with no points of reference, like hallucination, this is what would happen.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:59 PM on February 3, 2008


My existential angst is supersized, just like my McMansion.
posted by Elmore at 2:00 PM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm just skeptical of the whole 'higher knowledge' business. . . Somehow the cosmic consciousness fails to arrive.

Well, I'm not sure what you (and others) are basing this view on. There are many recorded accounts of psychedelic experiences that had a profound effect on people. I don't like the term "cosmic consciousness," myself--seems a little over the top, but to each his own.

To quote Aldous Huxley, in The Doors of Perception:
To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large— this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.
As for the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, here's a starting point. To quote:
According to one study conducted in 1962, 65 per cent of the alcoholics in the experiment stopped drinking for at least a year-and-a-half (the duration of the study) after taking one dose of LSD. The controlled trial also concluded that less than 25 per cent of alcoholics quit drinking for the same period after receiving group therapy, and less than 12 per cent quit in response to traditional psychotherapy techniques commonly used at that time.
posted by flotson at 2:19 PM on February 3, 2008


There aren't that big of barriers put into place to prevent legitimate uses for illegal drugs - hell, it seems like they come out with a new narcotic painkiller or a new amphetamine-based ADD med every year.

There are huge barriers to psychedelics being used for research in the US. It has been nearly - if not factually - impossible to get any approval at all for research. Meanwhile, stuff like the narcotic painkillers or amphetamine-analog ADD/ADHD therapies get slipstreamed with inadequete testing.

See MAPS for more information.
posted by loquacious at 2:30 PM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mitrovarr writes "But seriously - they ARE the same claims that have came out with every psychadelic ever developed. Somehow the cosmic consciousness fails to arrive. Do you think, maybe, that there might not be anything you connect to by this route? That it might just be an illusion of being one with the universe, an illusion of understanding?"

Maybe, but I quit drinking (which likely would have killed me) due to an experience I had on LSD. It wasn't intentional, but it happened just the same. The experience was very difficult, but I was able to incorporate the lessons I learned into my life afterwards, which also helped me cope with the depression that still existed without drinking. I realize it sounds hyperbolic to a skeptic, but LSD saved my life. Reproducing such effects would probably require a controlled setting, but you'd be surprised what you can learn from yourself.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:33 PM on February 3, 2008


- and tales of improved circuit or algorithm design during or post trip abound. Both historical tales and contemporary ones.
Tales also abound of people who can drive better when they're "just a bit buzzed, man."

Even today, many programmers use psychedelics. Some even use them while programming.
Maybe I have worked in the wrong companies but I have never ever ever heard even a whisper of this. All the drug-addled programmers I have known were cokeheads, or in one notable "Survivor"-contestant case, a crystal meth fan.

Funny I don't hear a lot of intellectual breakthroughs being attributed to low-rent drugs like meth or, for that matter, beer. I skimmed the thread so I'm sure it's been said better already, but: people can potentially think of great things while on drugs. But drugs can't think for you, no matter how much the intellectually limited would often like them to.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:37 PM on February 3, 2008


DMT has some pretty bad effects for chronic users, things like permanent tinnitus. The metabolites aren't excreted as expected, leading one to wonder where they go.

Yeah, I'm curious what the heck you're talking about here. I've never taken DMT as a drug, but every human being alive has "taken" it in some form.

Dimethyltryptamine is a neurotransmitter that's naturally produced by your pineal gland, and as a monoamine it's pretty much the easiest thing in the world for your body to break down. In fact, in order for the "psychedelic" effects of DMT to work, you often have to take some sort of MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) so that your body doesn't just break it down immediately.

I think that what you may be referring to is the fact that MAOIs carry with them a certain risk that other, more toxic monoamines will have effects on your body while the MAOI is blocking the breakdown of the DMT. What you describe sounds more like the effects of serotonin syndrome, which is a well-known result of tryptophan/tyrosine poisoning that can result from use of an MAOI.
posted by spiderwire at 2:39 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Erowid is great. My house is full of these and I never knew what they could do.
posted by Elmore at 2:40 PM on February 3, 2008


Oh, and as far as the conscious consciousness that you keep on about, it tells me you only have a very limited understanding of spirituality. Seems to me you're questioning the very idea of "enlightenment," which is part of this discussion but is outside the scope of it a bit. Spiritual awakenings, epiphanies, etc., do happen on psychedelics. Didn't you ever wonder where all those newly-minted, long haired Jesus freaks and Buddhists (among other groups) of the '70s came from? Or why George Harrison's music and life forever shifted eastward after his psychedelic experiences? Or why Tim Leary was such a proselytizing freak? Sure, not everyone that saw God or was reborn turned out to be a much better person in the end, but some people were and are profoundly changed. It can only show you the way; it can't make you take it. Note that opening the door isn't the same as walking the path.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:42 PM on February 3, 2008


But drugs can't think for you, no matter how much the intellectually limited would often like them to.

I'm not going to say whether I'm speaking from personal experience or not, but I can tell you with absolutely no doubt in my mind that a mild dose of psychedelic mushrooms can turn some very difficult differential equations problems into trivial math exercises, and that they can remain so even after the effects of the drug wear off.
posted by spiderwire at 2:44 PM on February 3, 2008


or to put it another way:

isn't it an amazing coincidence that the drugs perferred by the rich, white baby boomers are the ones that happen to be amazingly transcendental and "consciousness-expanding," while the young, poor and minorities are "just getting high?"
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:45 PM on February 3, 2008


drjimmy11 writes "Funny I don't hear a lot of intellectual breakthroughs being attributed to low-rent drugs like meth or, for that matter, beer. I skimmed the thread so I'm sure it's been said better already, but: people can potentially think of great things while on drugs. But drugs can't think for you, no matter how much the intellectually limited would often like them to."

You aren't really talking to the right people or looking any further than your immediate circle. Your understanding is very limited in this area. Sorry, but there's no other way I can put it.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:46 PM on February 3, 2008


drjimmy11 writes "isn't it an amazing coincidence that the drugs perferred by the rich, white baby boomers are the ones that happen to be amazingly transcendental and 'consciousness-expanding,' while the young, poor and minorities are 'just getting high?'"

Dude. You really don't know. You are sorta talking out your ass. Coke and crack will do the same thing to you in the end. One is done on Wall St. The other is done in crackville. The price of the drug or the social class matters not. Of course, if you're living in misery, it's not a very conducive environment for psychedelics. There's a reason that shamanic rituals use psychedelic substances and not stimulants or depressants.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:50 PM on February 3, 2008


So, if we're still at the articles-in-LA-times level, I take it nobody has written the great It's All About The Consciousness sequential multivolume bestseller for ayahuasca yet? Fuller cracks open fresh ream of blank paper, checks Amazon for copy of Castenada to crib.

Shrooms are common hereabouts if you're anywhere near a cow (they flourish on cowpies.) But not, alas, in February, so the chemical inspiration will have to wait until June or so.

P.S. so that's where Timothy Leary went. The big McMansion in the sky.
posted by jfuller at 3:08 PM on February 3, 2008


Two things:
1) Exploring your own csness is not really an on the bus or off the bus issue, i.e. its something we all do sort of de facto. There are a myriad of ways to unlock the so-called doors of perception, and the way you choose to unlock them determines what you're going to find on the other side. Using Psychodelics is one very intense method. Eating lots and lots of oreos is perhaps another. Think of it this way: koala bears subsit almost soley on eucalyptus leaves, which means that, according to our human definitions, they are effectively stoned all the time (why they tend to sleep 23 hours a day). But of course, if they are stoned all the time, then that's their sober state, right?

2) The best book on this, I think, is probably Andrew Weil's seminal The Natural Mind: An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness.

At the end of the day, what's really awesome is that you can do drugs if want to, but you don't have to. And that's the end of the story.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:08 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, no. Coke and crack while taken by rich people will tend to cause problems for a while and then they, with aid from their resources, will sort themselves out. When taken by poor people with no education, no resources and no prospects-- well, the odds of recovery are much lower.

So class does matter in terms of both odds of addiction and odds of recovery: though, if you are so rich that you never have to work and can't possibly run through all your money, you are probably at similar risk for addiction to those who are so poor that nothing matters either: both lives are structureless, which is a risk factor for addiction. Middle class people are at lower risk than those on the extreme ends of the economic spectrum, but for obvious reasons, if the rich want to get clean, they have an easier time of it.

And yes, set and setting do matter in terms of psychedelics and they aren't good for "escape" so they tend to be popular amongst those who are not miserable, no matter where they are on the economic scale. This is also why they aren't particularly addictive.

However, you do hear breakthroughs being attributed to amphetamines: I think Erdos and some other famous mathematicians were speed freaks. And opioids have been linked with inspiration, too-- most notably Coleridge, Burroughs, Poe.
posted by Maias at 3:10 PM on February 3, 2008


Jeez, what crawled up your behind this morning?

Jeez, it was a joke. Lighten up.

most mefites probably have read the previous discussions on DMT/ayahuasca, since we're such a jaded, cosmopolitan community. :)


See, I have no idea whether you're serious about that (the smiley makes it even harder than usual to tell), but if you're even the slightest bit serious, you've fallen into the trap of mistaking your own interests for general knowledge. I guarantee you "most mefites" have never even heard of DMT/ayahuasca, any more than they've heard of Pasquale Volpi. That doesn't hold, of course, for the jaded MeFites in this particular thread, who came here to tout the transcendent virtues of this particular psychowhoozis.

Er, I almost forgot: :)
posted by languagehat at 3:34 PM on February 3, 2008


I would like to buy some transcendent virtues of psychowhoozis, please.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:07 PM on February 3, 2008


I would like to buy some transcendent virtues of psychowhoozis, please.

$25 an eighth, same as in town.
posted by nasreddin at 4:09 PM on February 3, 2008


This is truly the vine of the soul.
posted by antidemeta at 4:12 PM on February 3, 2008


Meditation >>> Hallucinogens
posted by milarepa at 4:22 PM on February 3, 2008


Is it addictive? Will it lead to crack babies? Am I an American Idiot?
posted by telstar at 4:55 PM on February 3, 2008


Will it lead to crack babies?

Despite being facetious, this is actually an interesting question. What effects, if any, do psychedelic substances have on fetuses (as opposed to things like alcohol, or nicotine, etc.) I wonder.

Abomination anyone?
posted by synaesthetichaze at 5:59 PM on February 3, 2008


That's a Dune reference, folks.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 6:00 PM on February 3, 2008


Astonishment anyone? Terrence Mckenna said, when asked the question can you die from taking this DMT? "perhaps of astonishment"
posted by hortense at 6:14 PM on February 3, 2008


Terrence Mckenna
posted by hortense at 6:16 PM on February 3, 2008


hincandenza: The point I was making is that this article is the usual piece on DMT that makes its rounds, where the author rarely actually takes the stuff, reports on it in a banal sense, and offers no new perspective- no new legal status, no new angle, etc.

Okay fine. This reporter took the stuff and managed to squeeze an interesting read out of the experience, too.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:32 PM on February 3, 2008


I would like to buy some transcendent virtues of psychowhoozis, please.

$25 an eighth, same as in town.


But paradoxically, the imported stuff from Mexico is actually better.
posted by spiderwire at 7:18 PM on February 3, 2008


Not wishing a bad trip on anyone, but hopefully an educational trip for these people.

Perhaps a holiday... in Cambodia?
posted by thedaniel at 7:57 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


It seems that anything that would uncover great truths would cause a change in behavior of some kind.

What, you mean more than moving down from the trees and building the internet?
posted by humannaire at 8:02 PM on February 3, 2008


I knew a woman from Brazil who was in an ayahuasca cult, took it with her son (Yage(!)) in the womb, and later gave it to him when he was 11 or 12. He was a disobedient and hostile kid, but seemed pretty much like other Brazilian kids I've met.

I had other reasons not to like her as she abused her partner though she was always fairly polite to me.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:08 PM on February 3, 2008



Insight (or "discovering great truths") rarely leads to change in behavior-- at least in terms of individual psychology. It was the great mistake of the "catharsis" school of thought to believe that if you could only get people to see what was driving their behavior, they would change immediately.

Nope, you just get insightful alcoholics, addicts, compulsive or neurotic people, etc. Changing behavior is a process and while insight can sometimes help, in and of itself, it's doesn't do much. This is why all those "seminars" and "large group awareness trainings" (things like est) so often lead people to *think* they've been changed tremendously, but if you follow their actual behavior, it doesn't change much. Similarly with psychedelics: insight isn't enough. It might be necessary (though not always) but it is usually not sufficient.

Regarding taking psychedelics while pregnant, I'm pretty sure the vast majority of pregnant women don't want to take anything that makes them vomit *more*-- so this stuff is unlikely to be a big issue. There was this huge scare in the 60's and 70's that LSD "damages chromosomes" and was going to lead to the production of a mutant race. In fact, the way they tested it for that, salt would have been seen to do the same thing. There is no known group of birth defects linked to LSD-- but it's pretty dumb to take any drug that you don't have to and about which little is known while pregnant.
posted by Maias at 8:37 PM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


In my experience the thing about psychedelics, which turns occasional users of psychedelics into devotees, is that they have the capability of, if the person ingesting them is open to it, creating a direct and experiential connection with the Godhead, or whatever you want to call it. Does it work every time? No. But is it reliable? Yes. Experientially reliable.

And an ecstatic sense of connection with the fundamental unity of reality is something that's hard to turn aside.

Do people 'misuse' these substances, causing people who don't use them to think that everyone who does is some kind of dickhead? Yes. Yes indeed.
posted by geekhorde at 9:20 PM on February 3, 2008


Comments on the Blue indicate that many have had life changing experiences with psychedelics. I have. Some haven't.

LSD, Prozac, alcohol: we have all gained or lost parts of our psyche with the use of these substances.

Me: I do not regret my psychexperiences one bit, though it has been decades. Maybe I would have discovered meditation without choking down morning-glory seeds on white bread in 1969, maybe I wouldn't have.

The Mind is a Wonderful Thing to Taste.
posted by kozad at 10:06 PM on February 3, 2008


It seems to me that naive realism shapes a certain model of subjects, objects and agency. So, you get questions like "Can a psychotropic jungle potion cure...?" i.e. [Object] [does] [so-and-so]? One of the key barriers to a more fruitful discussion on drugs.

ObLink for those debating the value of psychedelic experiences.
posted by daksya at 2:15 AM on February 4, 2008


bluelight forums >>> mefi
posted by sponge at 7:59 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Having tried those logins from Bugmenot without success, I'm beginning to believe that Bugmenot is an shared hallucination.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:15 AM on February 3


Well, go figure. Just 'cause you see it doesn't mean it's real. Eponyxplanatory!
posted by eritain at 3:40 PM on February 4, 2008


Psychedelic Science online
posted by homunculus at 2:07 PM on February 7, 2008


« Older A new look at race through three lenses:...  |  Want your genome on a hard dri... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments